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(Diane Watson)
(Diane Watson)

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / John Huth

The cairn commemorates the crossing of the Balonne River and the origin of the naming of St George by Sir Thomas Mitchell on St George`s Day in 1846. The original cairn was unveiled in 1936 and a new site and memorial were dedicated in 1988. 

Mitchell`s fourth expedition into the interior in 1845-46 opened up major routes through the rich eastern pastures of the south-west, leading to the establishment of centres including Roma, Surat, Charleville, Mitchell and St George.

SIR THOMAS MITCHELL'S discoveries in Queensland in the 'forties opened up a vast extent of pastoral country. But he was not honoured by having a public monument erected to his memory. However, this deficiency is now to be remedied with the erection of a cairn at St. George's Bridge, on the Balonne River, in south-western Queensland. St. George`s Bridge is a natural bridge of rocks which extends right across the river, and it was so named by Mitchell because he discovered it on St. George's Day, 1846. The present town of St. George nearby was named after the bridge. In Western Queensland Mitchell is also claimed to have been the inventor of the canvas water-bag. Whilst exploring in the west Mitchell had some trouble with the wooden receptacles in which water was carried, so, as an experiment, he sewed pieces of canvas together to make a bag, which he greased with mutton tallow. The idea was a success, and is claimed to have been the origin of the popular canvas waterbag. — E.
Sydney Mail (NSW), 18 March 1936.


Address:Balonne Highway & Albert Street, Cavanough Park, St George, 4487
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -28.044392
Long: 148.567289
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:23-April-1846
Actual Event End Date:23-April-1846


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 24th October, 1988
Front Inscription

   At This Spot
April, 23rd 1846 
Crossed The Balonne And
Established A Camp, Calling The Crossing 
This Was The Origin Of The Town Of 

Plaque :

The Site For The Thomas Mitchell Memorial
Commemorating His Crossing Of The Balonne River
On St Georges Day, 23rd April, 1846, Was Dedicated
By His Excellency The Governor Of Queensland
On 24th October 1988, In This Our Bicentennial Year.

Cr. R. E. Buchan     Chairman
                                Balonne Shire Bicentennial Committee
Cr. B. J. Hammond  Chairman Balonne Shire Council

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