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29 August 1857 Captain Freeling and Lake Blanche

 29 August 1857 Captain Freeling and Lake Blanche

On 29 August 1857 Captain A.H. Freeling, the Surveyor-General, was in the Flinders Ranges on the way to Lake Torrens to confirm the discovery of George Goyder who had reported finding a large body of fresh water. Goyder, the Assistant Surveyor-General had made his first trip to the northern part of the Ranges earlier in the year. There he came upon Lake Blanche, which at the time was thought to be Lake Torrens as discovered by Edward John Eyre, and which because of heavy rains that year held fresh water. On his return south Goyder reported his discovery which created great excitement in Adelaide and the eastern colonies. The government decided to send another expedition under the leadership of Freeling, complete with a boat, to explore this waterway. The main members of the party, which included George Hawker, were taken by the government schooner Yatala to Port Augusta where they picked up the drays and wagons sent from Adelaide. The boat was loaded on to a high-sided German wagon. The journey through the Flinders Ranges was rough and the going slow. At last on 3 September they reached the lake and set about launching the boat, but after pushing a smaller boat some quarter of a mile out into the shore it still did not float. Some of the party walked out into the lake for three miles and found water still only six inches deep. The boat was abandoned and the party returned to Adelaide to lodge yet another disappointing report on the difficulties of exploring further north.

Hans Mincham, The Story of the Flinders Ranges, Rigby, 1964, pp.60-2.

Tags: Freeling Captain, Lake Blanche