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Ernest GilesPrint Page Print this page

01-September-2014
01-September-2014
Photographs supplied by Derek Graham

A monument over the grave commemorates explorer Ernest Giles who between 1872 and 1876 led five expeditions into Australia`s unknown western interior, the last two on camels.

Giles was driven by a desire to be the first to penetrate the area and set out without official support. He was never given material reward for his exploration work, but was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. During his travels he discovered Mount Olga, named the Gibson Desert and crossed the continent from east to west and later went back again by a different route. Despite initial setbacks and seemingly impenetrable wilderness, Giles never weakened in his purpose or his love of exploration. At one point in his travels, he sent his companion, Gibson, on to fetch help, riding their last horse, then struggled along on foot. Gibson was never heard of again. In 1897 he died after contracting pneumonia whilst working as a clerk in the Coolgardie gold fields. Giles styled himself as "the last of the Australian explorers."

In the Coolgardie cemetery on 23rd December the ceremony of unveiling a monument erected by the Government to the memory of the late Ernest Giles, the explorer, was performed by the Mayor in the presence of a representative gathering. The monument consists of a draped vase of marble, resting on a square column of the same stone, with a bluestone base, the whole standing nearly 10ft. In height, and surrounded by a neat railing.  Intense satisfaction was expressed that the Government of Western Australia had seen fit to thus honour the memory of such a brave and deserving public benefactor.
The Brisbane Courier (QLD), 11th January 1901.

Location

Address:Forrest Street, Coolgardie Cemetery, Coolgardie, 6429
State:WA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.949472
Long: 121.15477
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Discovery

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 23rd December, 1900
Front Inscription

In memory of Ernest Giles

THE AUSTRALIAN EXPLORER
GOLD MEDALLIST OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL  SOCIETY OF LONDON

 "Ob terras reclusas."

Plaque :

Ernest Giles 1835 - 1897

Respected explorer of Central Australia between 1872 and 1876.  His dream to discover a way from the Darwin to Adelaide Telegraph line westward to the Swan River colony was realised in 1875.

After several expeditions through northern areas of South Australia using horses, his successful journey in 1875 from Thomas Elder`s Beltana Station to Perth using camels took 7 months.

Giles traversed through unexplored country north of Coolgardie, making his own tracks and finding little water.

Two months after reaching Perth, Giles set out to explore a return route from Perth via Geraldton and the source of the Ashburton River eastward across the Gibson Desert to South Australia.

His expeditions suffered great hardships and failed to find large water sources, only isolated springs.  Prominent features such as The Olgas, Victoria and Gibson Deserts, Opthalmia Range, Rawlinson Range were discovered and named by Giles.

Giles was one of the last explorers to journey across Australia and is remembered for his feats of endurance by the Institution of Surveyors and the Mapping Sciences Institute, Western australian Division.

Placed on November 13 1997, 100 years after his death

 

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