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11 February 1830 Charles Sturt - exploration of the Murray River

 11 February 1830   Charles Sturt - exploration of the
                             Murray River
On 11 February 1830, after an epic journey which began on the Murrumbidgee River in November 1829, Charles Sturt and a small party, consisting of his deputy George McLeay, two soldiers and four convicts, reached the Southern Ocean. 

Their journey down the Murrumbidgee in a whale-boat brought them to the larger river which Sturt named after Sir George Murray, the Colonial Secretary. After 33 days in the boat, in oppressive heat with scant provisions, the party entered a large lake which Sturt named Alexandrina after Princess Alexandrina, heir to the British throne. However, he realised that the presence of the lake indicated that the entry of the river into the sea would not afford a good navigable mouth and this he found to be so. It was a great disappointment to him.

Although it is believed that whalers visited the lake at least 15 months before Sturt discovered it, it was an empty coastline which greeted their eyes. Sturt had no option but to retrace his journey upstream to the depot they had left on the Murrumbidgee, a feat they accomplished in only seven days more than the voyage downstream, a remarkable achievement considering their weakened state.

David J. Gordon, 'Charles Sturt - Explorer', The Advertiser , 8, 9, 10 January 1930, Newspaper Cuttings Book, Volume 3, p.14. SSLM.

Tags: , River Murray, Sturt Charles