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21 December 1916 Captain Charles Sturt


21 December 1916     Captain Charles Sturt

A statue of Captain Charles Sturt was unveiled in Victoria Square on 21 December 1916, forty-seven years after his death in England. He is best remembered for his epic trip down the Murray River in 1829-30 but came to South Australia again in 1838 when he joined an overland venture from NSW. While in Adelaide he was offered the position of Surveyor-General, which he accepted. However, in September 1839 Lieutenant Frome arrived from London with an official commission for the job, so Governor Gawler made Sturt the Assistant Commissioner of Lands at a reduced salary. In 1841 he was offered the resident management of the South Australian Company but refused. On learning that Captain Grey was to replace Gawler, Sturt wrote to the Colonial Office complaining of Grey’s youth and offering himself instead. Grey never forgave the affront and Sturt was reduced to the post of Registrar-General on an even lower salary. He felt the only course left was to prove himself again by an exploration of the interior and he was finally given sufficient funds to permit a small-scale operation. He left on 10 August 1844 on his last expedition during which second-in-command, Poole, died and all the party suffered badly. He returned to Adelaide on 19 January 1846 but his health was not good and in 1851 his sight began to fail and he retired to England.

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2 1788-1850, Melb Uni Press, 1967, pp. 495-99. 

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