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26 November 1839 Disappearance of Henry Bryan


26 November 1839    Disappearance of Henry Bryan

On 26 November 1839 Lieutenant J.S. Pullen with Governor Gawler, Captain Sturt, Henry Inman and two gentlemen of the Governor’s household, Gill and Henry Bryan, began a journey up the River Murray from Lake Alexandrina. Lieutenant Pullen had been appointed Commander of Colonial Marine and Marine Surveyor of South Australia on 31 may 1839. He had arrived in South Australia with Colonel Light in the brig Rapid on 18 August 1836 and with him had surveyed the mouth of the Murray and sailed into the Port River on 28 September. Later, on his own, he surveyed Port Elliot and much of the south coast. The exploratory trip up the Murray ended disastrously. On reaching the Elbow (Morgan) the party was met with supplies and horses sent from Adelaide and on 11 December set out to travel in a north-westerly direction towards the ranges, the highest peak visible was give the name Mount Bryan. After two days riding in very hot weather and with their water supply dwindling both men and horses were suffering. On the return journey to the river Bryan, whose horse was slow, lagged behind the main group. He was never seen again in spite of an intensive search over eight days. The Governor and the remainder of the party arrived back in Adelaide on 28 December. Pullen returned to England and served with the Royal Navy, rising to the rank of Vice Admiral, and continued his adventurous life in the Arctic. Goolwa was at first called Port Pullen in his honour.

George Loyau, The Representative Men of South Australia, Adelaide, 1883, pp.197-98.
James Hawker, Early Experiences in South Australia, Facsimile edition 1975, pp.54-7.

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