Central Australia Pioneers Memorial (John Ross Memorial) Print Page Print this page

Central Australia Pioneers Memorial
Central Australia Pioneers Memorial

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The Central Australian Pioneers Memorial commemorates John Ross and all pioneers of Central Australia. Also known as the John Ross Memorial, it was restored in 1994 and is now contained in a metal cage. The plaques are very difficult to read and photograph. There is some graffiti on the memorial.

The "John Ross Memorial Fund" was commenced with the modest sum of £26 in the bank. John Ross was Central Australia's first explorer-pioneer, and it is therefore only right that the fund should be in his name. Both he and his small son, Alexander, aged 10, made a hazardous journey right into Central Australia in search of fresh pastures as early as 1868-9. It is a story that would thrill any Australian school boy.  John Ross was also the explorer, who discovered the Alice Springs (on March 17, 1871). Immediately after him came the surveyors and constructors of the, Overland Telegraph Line. These men constitute our very first pioneers. The pastoral pioneers of Undoolya and Owen Springs stations came next, in 1872.

Upon authoritative suggestion, a site immediately to the west of the oval gates and almost directly in front of the Wilkinson Memorial, has been selected. This site would give the general public access to the drinking fountain, which form it is suggested that the memorial take. Situated, as it will be on Will's Terrace, the drinking fountain memorial will serve a threefold purpose —

1. Central Australia could not exist without water, which our explorers and pioneers strove to locate, and without which so many perished.

2. From the historical standpoint, the site would still be authentic, as all parties must surely have camped in the close vicinity of the proposed memorial, once they arrived on the banks of the Todd River.

3. Wills' Terrace was the first inhabited street of the township of Stuart (now Alice Springs), and its inhabitants were therefore all pioneers.

Proudly then, if belated the effort, the 'John Ross Memorial Fund' is declared ' open to all Australians, and in fact, to all people who have in their veins true rich blood of the pioneers.
Centralian Advocate (Alice Springs), 13th August 1954.




Address:Wills Terrace, Trevor Reid Park , Alice Springs, 0870
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -23.695239
Long: 133.880461
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 17th September, 1955
Front Inscription


This memorial was unveiled on 17 September 1955. It was erected to commemorate the work of the early pioneers of Central Australia. The design, in the form of a horseshoe, signifies the contribution made by the beasts of burden. Beneath the roof are located the names of many of the better known and some of the not so well known pioneers. The central fountain represents the necessity of life - water - without which exploration and settlement would have been impossible.

The four plaques on the fountain commemorate Members of the Overland Telegraph Line Exploration and Construction Parties; and Pioneers of the first fifty years of settlement; the Postmaster General's Department and the Pioneering Hayes Family ; and a Century of Pastoralism. A further four plaques located on the outside of the seat, commemorate pioneer Lewis Bloomfield; Lutheran Church workers at Hermannsburg; Lutheran Church Workers at Kilalpaninna, S.A; and the Beast of Burden. 

The memorial was restored in 1994 by the Alice Springs Town Council with assistance from the McDouall Stuart Branch of the National Trust of Australia (N.T)

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