William KekwickPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Rick Moore

The obelisk, erected at the gravesite, commemorates William Kekwick who was second in command in John McDouall Stuart's expeditions.

When William C. Gosse planned an expedition in 1872, the Commissioner of Crown Lands secured Kekwick`s services and he was appointed third in command and collector of botanic and natural history specimens. On reaching Beltana he became seriously ill and was taken to Nuccaleena for medical treatment. Unfortunately he did not respond and died there on 16 October 1872 . He was buried at Blinman.

The brass plaques on the base were unveiled in 2000, as the lead lettering had dropped out of the monument and could not be replaced satisfactorily.

To celebrate the forty-seventh anniversary of the planting of the Union Jack on the shores of the Indian Ocean by John McDouall Stuart a complimentary social was tendered by the anniversary committee to the survivors of the party at Bricknell's Hindley Street Rooms on Monday evening. There was a good attendance, which included the same, four of the five survivors who were present a year ago— Messrs. W. P. Auld, S. King, H. Nash, and J. McGorrery.

Mr. Auld made an interesting speech in reply, in which he recalled many amusing memories of the trip. He thanked the anniversary committee and the Geographical Society for having placed headstones over the graves of Messrs. Kekwick and Thring. "We had a grand trip, " he went on musingly, casting back nearly 50 years "and knew what it was to have an empty stomach  Would you like to know the secret of the success of Stuart's expedition. It was discipline."
The Register (Adelaide, SA), 27 July 1909.


Address:Flinders Ranges Way, Cemetery, Blinman, 5730
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.098833
Long: 138.679706
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1909
Left Side Inscription

Plaque :

William Darton Kekwick

Born at London 3 Dec, 1822.
Died at Blinman 16 Oct, 1872.

Erected by the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (S.A. Branch) and friends, in admiration of his pluck, endurance, and loyalty to John McDouall Stuart, as Second in Command from 1859 to 1863, when the British flag was placed in the centre of Australia the 22nd April 1860, and on the shores of the Indian Ocean, 25th July 1862.

The obelisk, with the above inscription, was erected in 1909

Right Side Inscription

Plaque :

William Darton Kekwick 1822
Born At East Ham, Essex, England

Kekwick arrived in South Australia on the `Warrior`, 17.4.1840.  From August 1859 to January 1863, as second-in-command, he accompanied the explorer John McDouall Stuart on four journeys of exploration, which included three attempts to cross the continent from Adelaide to the Indian Ocean.

Aug 1859  - Jan 1860
This expedition explored & surveyed pastoral leases in the Lake Eyre Region.  The party consisted of 5 men & 12 horses

March - Sept 1860
Stuart, Kekwick & Benjamin Head, with 13 horses, departed Stuart Creek to cross the continent & were the first known Europeans to reach the centre of Australia 21.4.1860.   They continued to Attack Creek about 70km north of Tennant Creek before being forced to return to Adelaide.

Nov 1860 - Sept 1861
The party of 10 men, with 49 horses, discovered Newcastle Waters, but were thwarted by dense scrub 250km beyond Attack Creek.  They returned to Adelaide.

Oct 1861 - Jan 1863
`The South Australia Great Northern Exploring Expedition` departed Adelaide on 25.10.1861 & completed the first European crossing of the continent to the north coast, passing through the centre & returning along the same route with no loss of life.  The party consisted of 10 men & 72 horses.  The Overland Telegraph Line linking Adelaide to Europe via Darwin was constructed along this route & the original Central Australia Railway (The Ghan) followed a similar route.

Kekwick died aged 49 years at Nuccaleena, while travelling north (as third office & collector of natural history specimens) with William Christie Gosse`s Central & Western Exploring Expedition.  His burial service in the Blinman cemetery was conducted by W. Richards, Schoolmaster.  Also present were William Gosse, Dr. Von Nida J.P., T. Young, Clerk of the local court, Trooper Porter & residents.

These plaques were placed by the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Inc., the John McDouall Stuart Society Inc. & the Blinman Progress Association, with the support of Kekwick family descendants.

Unveiled by Richard Marchant Kekwick, a great-great-grand nephew of Kekwick 

22nd October 2000 - 140 years after the flag was raised in the centre of Australia.



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