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John McKinlay
John McKinlay

Photographs supplied by Roger Johnson

The monument was erected to commemorate the explorer, John McKinlay.

In 1861 McKinlay was asked by the South Australian government to organize an expedition to search for the Burke and Wills party about whose fate there was then much anxiety. McKinlay left Adelaide on 16 August 1861 with nine other men and on 20 October the grave of Gray was found near Cooper`s Creek. McKinlay sent word of this to the government, and soon afterwards learned that the remains of Burke and Wills had also been found.

He decided to explore in the direction of Mount Stuart, but was driven back by heavy rains and floods. McKinlay then decided to make for the Gulf of Carpentaria, hoping to find the vessel which had been sent to meet Burke`s party. The shores of the Gulf were thought to be only four or five miles away but the intervening country was very difficult, and it was decided to turn in an easterly direction and make for Port Denison on the shores of northern Queensland.

A station on the Bowen River near Port Denison was reached on 2 August 1862, and after a few days rest,they reached Port Denison. The party then returned by sea to Adelaide. McKinlay received a grant of £1000 from the government and a gold watch from the Royal Geographical Society of England.

The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the monument which is to be erected at Gawler to commemorate the achievements of the late Mr. John McKinlay, the explorer was performed on Saturday, 14th instant, by Mr. John Forrest, the hero of the late Western Australian exploration, in presence of a large body of the general public of Gawler and its neighbourhood.
South Australian Register (Adelaide), 16 November 1874.

Location

Address:Murray & Cowan Streets, Gawler, 5118
State:SA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.59615
Long: 138.749139
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Discovery
Approx. Event Start Date:1862
Approx. Event End Date:1862
Link:http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonli…

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 14th November, 1874
Front Inscription

Erected By Many Colonists As a MEMORIAL of  JOHN MCKINLEY
A chief amongst Australian explorers And Leader of expedition in search of BURKE and WILLS, 1861. 
Born at Sandbank, Argyleshire, Scotland, August 26th 1819. 
Died at Oaklands, Gawler December 31st 1872.

Brave yet gentle resolve yet unassuming. 
Formed to command, yet stern to none who knew to obey. 
He was at once admired and loved. 
To his country he has bequeathed a name which she may proudly add to the dead roll of her distinguished men.

Source: MA,SAM,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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