John McKinlayPrint Page Print this page

Original memorial (Kay Pamment)
Original memorial (Kay Pamment)

Photographs supplied by Kay Pamment / Roger Johnson / Bill Bale

The monument commemorates explorer John McKinlay. The original memorial was unveiled in 1960, and on the 28th April 2012 a statue was added to the memorial to commemorate the 150th anniversary of McKinlay passing thorugh the area. 

In August 1861 McKinlay was chosen by the House of Assembly to lead the South Australian Burke Relief Expedition. On 7 December at Cooper`s Creek McKinlay found the tree marked by Howitt near Burke`s grave and buried a document showing his intention to proceed back to his depot, then northward. McKinlay had been instructed to explore north and west of Lake Eyre. After finding many lakes and much pastoral land he made for the Gulf of Carpentaria in hope of meeting H.M.V.S. Victoria.

Heavy rain in February 1862 transformed Sturt`s Stony Desert into `running streams and blossoming meadows`. The stores had been depleted and the cart abandoned but for some time the party lived well on plentiful fish and meat. However, the leader never relaxed his strict discipline and good relations with the Aboriginals. He shaped the course accurately and on 20 May arrived near the mouth of the Albert River but mangrove swamps prevented sight of the Gulf of Carpentaria.


Address:Middleton Street, McKinlay, 4823
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -21.27374
Long: 141.288335
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1960
Front Inscription

John McKinlay 

Our Town, and the McKinlay Shire were named after the great Australian Explorer John McKinlay who passed here in 1862 during his epic travels from Adelaide to the Gulf of Carpentaria in search of the ill-fated Explorers, Burke & Wills.

This statue was unveiled 
on 28 April 2012 
The Mayor of McKinlay Shire  
Cr Paul Woodhouse
To mark the 150th Anniversary of 
John McKinlay's intrepid journey through here. 

Back Inscription

To The Memory Of Explorer John McKinlay
Born Sandbank Scotland 1819. Died Gawler South Australia 1872,

Commissioned by the South Australian Government 
to search for the missing Burke and Wills Expedition.

John McKinlay and party with horses, cattle, camels and sheep left Adelaide August 16th 1861, and traversed this district naming mountains and rivers en route to the Gulf of Carpentaria whose tidal waters were reached May 20th 1862 thereby completing the first and greatest Australian transcontinental droving feat.

McKinlay discovered and named the McKinlay River 
in April 1862 after which McKinlay Town was named.

Erected by the McKinlay Shire Council 1960.

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