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21 January 1903 Captain Collett Barker

 21 January 1903   Captain Collett Barker

 A memorial to Captain Collett Barker was unveiled in Mount Barker on 21 January 1903.

In 1831 Captain Collett Barker came from NSW, on the orders of Governor Darling, to explore the area that Sturt had discovered on his journey down the River Murray in 1829/30. It is believed that the ship anchored in Holdfast Bay and a party set out on foot, climbing Mount Lofty and Mount Barker from where they were able to see Lake Alexandrina. The party returned to their ship and sailed to Rapid Bay where they went ashore again and travelled overland to the mouth of the Murray River. Once there they began a search for a link between Lake Alexandrina and Encounter Bay. Barker left the main group and, with a compass fastened to his head, swam a channel, climbed a high sandhill for a better view, and disappeared.

When he did not return a search was made, but nothing was found and it was believed that he was killed by Aborigines and possibly his body was thrown in the water and carried out to sea. This was on the 30 April. The party were the first white men to traverse the country between Mount Barker and the Murray mouth. 

George Loyau, The Representative Men of South Australia,  Howell, Adelaide, 1883, pp. 53-4.

R.M. Gibbs, A History of South Australia, Balara Books, 1969, p.18

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