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John Darke Memorial : 2004
John Darke Memorial : 2004
Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The memorial commemorates explorer John Charles Darke who reached Waddike Rocks on the 23rd October 1844.  It was unveiled in the centenary year of his death.

Darke had been selected by a group of pastoralists in Adelaide to explore the country north west of Port Lincoln. According to Darke`s Journal, some aborigines close to Waddikee Rocks led him to water, and he gave them some bread and sugar in return. The next entry, by another of his party records his death at the hands of three of the same aborigines on the 24th October 1844.

At a meeting of the residents of Cootra and Koongawa held recently in the local hall, a move was made to have an obelisk placed at the foot of Waddikee Rocks in honor of John Charles Darke, it being 100 years since Darke was speared at Waddikee Rocks.  Final arrangements were made for an obelisk to be built on the boundary of the overland road at the foot of Waddikee Rocks so as to be in full view of all passers by. A brass plaque, with a suitable inscription, is to be attached, it was also decided that the unveiling of the obelisk take place on Saturday, October 21 next, and so do honor to the great explorer who lost his life while on his expedition from Port Lincoln to the Gawler Ranges and returning to Port Lincoln, he being speared by natives at Waddikee Rocks.
Port Lincoln Times, 21 September 1944.


Address:Eyre Highway, Waddike Rocks, Koongawa, 5650
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.161952
Long: 135.882078
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:23-October-1844
Actual Event End Date:24-October-1844


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 21st October, 1944
Front Inscription

John Charles Darke
Surveyor and explorer

On his return journey from the Gawler Ranges reached these rocks on 23rd October, 1844

Speared by natives next day, he died on the 24th and was buried at the foot of Darke Peak.

J. H. Theakston assumed command of the party.

Erected by reisdents of Waddikee Rocks.

21st October, 1944

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