John Charles DarkePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Roger Johnson

The obelisk, erected over the grave,commemorates explorer John Charles Darke (1806-1844). The grave site was restored in 1994. 

The Expedition to explore the country west and north-west of Port Lincoln and Spencer Gulf was proposed in 1843. John Darke, John Henry Theakstone, James Howard and one other man, made up the expedition party that left Adelaide on August 13, 1844.

On Wednesday October 23, 1844 Darke was speared by previously friendly Aboriginals and died the following day. He was buried beneath the table topped peaks, sighted by Eyre in 1840. Darke was buried on 25th October 1844 and in the following month Governor Grey expressed a wish that some eminence in the region of the grave whould be named to honour him.

In 1865 surveyor Thomas Evans who was performing a trigonometrical survey of the Gawler Ranges, in this part of Eyre Peninsula, named the 1564 ft high eminence, Darke Peak. In 1910 a ten foot high marble obelisk was erected over the grave. It is surrounded by a wrought iron fence and is contained in a small government reserve.

The exact locality of the grave of the late Mr. John Charles Darke, surveyor and explorer, on Eyre Peninsula, having been proved, as reported in "The Advertiser" a few days ago, the Government have decided to erect a headstone on the spot, and enclose the grave with an iron railing.  The inscription on the headstone will be as follows:-"Sacred to the memory of John Charles Darke, surveyor, who was mortally wounded by natives when exploring in this locality on October 23, 1844, and died the following day. Erected by the South Australian Government, 1910." The Commissioner of Public Works (Hon. L. O'Loughlin) has expressed to the Surveyor- General (Mr. W. Strawbridge) his high appreciation of the action of the Deputy Surveyor - General (Mr. E. M. Smith) and the other officers of that department in locating the grave.
The Advertiser (Adelaide), 7 January 1910.


Address:Hebbermann Road, Near Darke Peak on western side of range, Darke Peak, 5642
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.431166
Long: 136.156794
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:23-October-1844
Actual Event End Date:24-October-1844


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1910
Front Inscription

Sacred to the memory of John Charles Darke surveyor, who was mortally wounded by the natives when exploring in this locality on October 23rd 1844, and died the following fay.

Erected by the South Australian Government


Inscription in Proximity

John Charles Darke
Surveyor / Explorer
Killed by natives October 1844

Monument restoration project by South Australian Division of Institution of Engineering and Mining Surveyors, Australia

Neil H. Edward, President  19 October 1994

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