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4 June 1904 John McDouall Stuart

 4 June 1904   John McDouall Stuart

A statue of the explorer John McDouall Stuart was unveiled in Victoria Square on the 4 June 1904. His expeditions to the north enabled others to follow and establish settlements in the Northern Territory.

Stuart arrived in South Australia in 1838 and was with Sturt, as his draftsman, on his 1844/5 expedition to central Australia. In 1859 Stuart found a way between Lake Eyre and Lake Torrens and passed through desert country to find good pastoral lands. In 1860 he reached the centre of the continent which he named Central Mount Sturt, later renamed Stuart, and pushed on through spinifex country to within 400 miles of the northern coast before he was forced back by hostile aborigines.

On his second attempt to cross the continent he had to turn back about 100 miles beyond his first journey. In October 1861 Stuart left on his third and last expedition to reach the northern coast. After striking trouble negotiating the swamps and scrub of the northern areas he headed across a tableland to the headwaters of a river which he named the Adelaide, and this he followed to the sea reaching there on the 4 August 1862. His journey back was a nightmare of illness (scurvy), hunger, and lack of water and he became nearly blind. The party reached Adelaide on the 17 December 1862.

On the 21 January 1863 there was a public holiday with crowds lining the streets to greet him. He returned to England soon after and died there on the 5 June 1866.

The Australian Junior Encyclopedia,  Volume I, Georgian House, Melbourne, 1951, pp. 289, 979.

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