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John BaxterPrint Page Print this page

07-December-2013
07-December-2013
Photographs supplied by Bill Crowle

A monument commemorates John Baxter who accompanied Eyre across the Nullarbor.

In 1841 Edward John Eyre and his expedition passed within 20 kilometres of present day Caiguna. On 29 April 1841,  tragedy struck when John Baxter was brutally murdered by two fellow members of the expedition. Because of the terrain the body could not be buried and was exposed to the elements. Nearly forty years later the remains were recovered , minus the head, and sent to the Colonial Secretary's office in Perth.

The final resting place of Baxter's body is unknown as all records relating to the disposal of his remains have been lost. In 1930 the West Australian Historical Society erected the memorial 20 kilometres south of Caiguna.

An advice from Perth, W.A., says that a small monument has been erected for the Western Australian Historical Society about 90 miles south-east of Balladonia, on the spot where the explorer, John Baxter, was shot by natives in 1841. He was the only white companion of Edward John Eyre on the first overland expedition across Australia. During Eyre's absence from camp one night Baxter was murdered by two New South Wales natives in the party, who plundered the stores and left Eyre with a black. After great privations the survivors reached the coast near Esperance, and were rescued by a French whaling boat.

Baxter's bones, covered with a blanket, lay on the stony ground for 40 years before they were discovered and buried by a party sent out from Eyre's sand patch. Mr. J. W. Graham, who erected the monument ,was a boy with the party that found Baxter's skeleton. On his return to Balladonia, Mr. Graham said that the original headstone erected by Eyre in 1841 was intact, two feet from the new monument. There was also half a mile of stepping stones laid from Gindra rock holes to the grave by natives in 1881 at the request of his father, William Graham, formerly master of the telegraph station at Eyre's sand patch.
Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW ), 12th December 1930.

Location

Address:Baxter Cliffs, 20 kilometres South, Caiguna , 6443
State:WA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.280556
Long: 125.947222
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Exploration
Actual Event STart Date:29-April-1841
Actual Event End Date:29-April-1841

Dedication

Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1930
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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