John McDouall Stuart Collection

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Date range: 
1840 to 1890
South Australia,
John McDouall Stuart Collection

A sub-collection of the Historical Relics Collection, these objects all relate to the explorer John McDouall Stuart or to those that accompanied him on his six expeditions. The collection ranges from personal items, such as a scarf ring and smoking cap, through to exploration equipment, pieces of trees, a pocket book and fire arms. There are just under 50 objects in this collection.

John McDouall Stuart was the first European to successfully cross Australia from south to north and back, from Adelaide to Van Diemen Gulf. Stuart and his ‘companions’ completed this crossing in 1862. Stuart had undertaken five previous expeditions, three of which were attempts to cross the continent. Following Stuart’s successful exploration South Australia gained control of the Northern Territory and established a settlement at Darwin.  Stuart’s crossing directly influenced the later route of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line, which in 1872 connected Darwin to Port Augusta, and thus Adelaide, and allowed faster communication between Australia and the rest of the world. There was significant excitement in Adelaide at the time of Stuart’s successful crossing, and the collection includes a flag used to welcome Stuart and his team back to Adelaide. The collection is material evidence of Stuart’s life and explorations.
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