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


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

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:Kapunda - Truro Road, Koonunga, 5373
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.388136
Long: 138.998817
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape
Actual Event Start Date:15-August-1844
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1844


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1944
Front Inscription

Central Australian Exploring Expedition

Captain Charles Sturt on 15 August 1844 rested at Koonunga, the homestead of the pioneer pastoralist Capt Charles Hervey Bagot

The principal discoveries were Barrier and Grey Ranges Cooper and Eyre Creeks

Erected 1944



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