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


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The plaque commemorates Captain Charles Sturt who passed through the area on his Central Australian Exploring Expedition of 1844 and 1845. The plaque 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.

Plaques in City And Country To Be Unveiled.
Two plaques-one on the Bank of Adelaide for Captain Charles Sturt and one on the A.M.P. Building in King William street to John Charles Darke - will be unveiled at 3 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. respectively on Sunday, August 13. The Lieutenart-Governor (Sir Mellis Napier) will unveil them, and it is expected that the Premier (Mr. Playford) and the Lord Mayor (Mr. Walker) will be present. Plaques will also be erected at many towns along the route taken by Sturt's expedition. These have been completed in most cases, and have been sent to the towns by the Historical Memorials Committee for unveiling. At Light Pass a second plaque will be unveiled in honor of Colonel Light. 
News (Adelaide), 22 July 1944.

On August 10, 1844, Sturt's carefully selected and well-equipped expedition set out from Adelaide to explore hitherto the unknown interior of Australia. This year places along the route from Adelaide to beyond the Queensland border are planning to commemorate the centenary of that great expedition, and to honor the memory of the first white men to pass their district. From the Royal Geographical Society (S.A. branch) information has been received about arrangements being made in the various centres.

On August 13, the Lieutenant Governor of South Australia will unveil a plaque to Sturt at the corner of Currie and King William Streets, the actual spot from which the expedition set out. The president of the Royal Geographical Society (Mr. Hambidge), accompanied by Mrs. Hambidge and a number of fellow members, will leave Adelaide on a pilgrimage to participate in the unveiling ceremonies between Gawler and Renmark. The places visited will be: Gawler, Daveyston, Light Pass, Nuriootpa, Truro, Angaston, Koonunga, Morgan, Barmera, Renmark.

Unfortunately petrol could not be obtained to enable the pilgrimage to continue beyond Renmark, and places to the north are holding ceremonies at varying times. Wentworth is making arrangements to fence in the Sturt trees at the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers. Broken Hill has arranged activities extending over several days, and will have as permanent records a bronze head of Sturt in the Art Gallery, a memorial sundial and a Sturt Park. Innamincka has prepared a bronze plaque to ba placed on a memorial cairn within the grounds of the Australian Inland Mission. It is anticipated that Birdsville will unveil a plaque to Sturt at the time of its race carnival. 
Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), 11 August 1944.



Address:Light Pass & Kalimna Roads, On Pioneer Memorial, Light Pass, 5355
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.465361
Long: 139.025919
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Landscape


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1944
Front Inscription

Captain Charles Sturt

Central Australian Exploring Expedition.

The dray party passed through this District 

14 - 17 August 1844.

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

Erected 1944

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