Captain Charles Sturt & Central Australian Exploring ExpeditionPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The cairn commemorates Captain Charles Sturt and the Central Australian Exploring Expedition of 1844 and 1845. The cairn was unveiled in 1944 to mark the centenary of the expedition. 

Sturt was driven by a conviction that it was his destiny to discover a great salt water lake, known as 'the inland sea', in the middle of Australia. At very least, he wanted to be the first explorer to plant his foot in 'the centre' of Australia. In August 1844, he set out with a party of 15 men, 200 sheep, six drays and a boat to explore north-western New South Wales and to advance into central Australia. They travelled along the Murray River and Darling River before passing the future site of Broken Hill, but were then stranded for months by the extreme summer conditions near the present site of Milparinka.

When the rains eventually came Sturt moved north and established a depot at Fort Grey in today's Sturt National Park. With a small group of men, including explorer John McDouall Stuart as his draughtsman, Sturt pressed on across Sturt`s Stony Desert and into the Simpson Desert, at which point he was unable to go further and turned back to the depot. Sturt made a second attempt to reach the centre of Australia, but he developed scurvy in the extreme conditions. His health broke down and he was forced to abandon the attempt. John Harris Browne, surgeon on the expedition, assisted Sturt, took over leadership of the party and after travelling 4,800 kilometres brought it back to safety.



Address:Adelaide Street, ANZAC Park, Birdsville, 4482
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -25.897922
Long: 139.354414
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape
Monument Manufacturer:Mr R. Gaffney


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 1st September, 1944
Front Inscription

Central Australian Exploring Expedition

Captain Charles Sturt with a few companions twice entered the Birdsville Region in September and October 1845

His discoveries opened the way to the north for later explorers and resulted in the pastoral occupation of Western Queensland

Erected 1944


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