John Ainsworth HorrocksPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The cairn commemorates pastoralist and explorer John Ainsworth Horrocks (1818 - 1846), founder of Penwortham, who was accidentally killed when his camel caused his gun to discharge.  Close to the cairn is a plaque and a metal sculpture of Horrocks, his dog, and his camel.

On the advice of Edward John Eyre, Horrocks explored land near the Hutt River, north of Adelaide and established Penwortham village. Other pastoralists followed him into the area. In 1841 the long awaited special survey gained a frustrated Horrocks title to only some of the fertile land he had been occupying. Nevertheless, he built up a flock of 9000 sheep and is believed to have established the first vineyard in the Clare district.

In 1842, following the death of his father, he went back to Britain, but returned to South Australia early in 1844 when his affairs faced financial difficulties. In July 1846 he left on an expedition to find fresh grazing land to the north. His party included the well-known artist S. T.Gill. 

At Lake Gill (later renamed Lake Dutton) Horrocks was accidentally wounded when his camel moved while he was unpacking a loaded gun. Having ordered the camel to be shot, Horrocks died of his wounds on 23 September 1846 and was buried in land at Penwortham that he had given to the Church of England.

History of the past, with emphasis upon what tradition means to this fine country of ours, marked the ceremonial of the unveiling of a fine monument to the memory of the Pioneer explorer and founder of Penwortham (Explorer John Ainsworth Horrocks) which took place at Penwortham on Sunday afternoon, Sep. 22, 1946, at 3.30 p.m. About 800 people attended and a large throng surrounded the memorial on the North West corner of St. Mark's Cemetery, abutting the Main North Road. Cars were lined for hundreds of yards each side of the road.

The chairman of the Horrock's Memorial Fund (Mr. J. H. Richardson) in introducing various guests and welcoming the President of the Royal Geographical Society (Mr. C M. Hambidge) who is also Surveyor General, emphasised that they were met on the eve of the centenary of the Explorer's tragic and accidental death to pay a tribute and take part in a united ceremonial as a link in a chain of memorials being erected from Penwortham via Wilmington, Horrocks Pass to Quorn. He invited Mr. Hambidge to unveil the memorial, which he did by drawing aside the Union Jack from the memorial plaque.
Northern Argus (Clare, SA), 26 September 1946.


Address:Main North Road, Penwortham, 5453
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.921916
Long: 138.639401
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Monument Manufacturer:Mr. W. G.Robins


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 22nd September, 1946
Front Inscription

   Pastoralist And Explorer
A Prominent Pioneer Of This District
Left Penwortham 28 July 1846 With 
Theakson, Gill, Kilroy, Garlick And A Native
To Explore Country North-West Of Mount Arden.
Horrocks Was Accidentally Wounded 1 Sept. At 
Lake Dutton, And Died 23 Sept. At Penwortham.
                Erected 1946

Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design