Sturt’s Journey

Sturt’s Central Australian Expedition

In 1845, Charles Sturt and his expedition found themselves trapped by extremely dry weather near a waterhole in the heart of the Corner Country, for-ever linking the expedition to the region. The route taken by the expedition is approximated by a touring route named Sturt’s Steps.

Having previously explored the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Darling rivers, in 1844 Captain Charles Sturt set his sights on inland Australia where no Europeans had ever been. Believing that the centre of the continent contained a very large mass of water, Sturt’s expedition equipment included a whale which was carried on a gun carriage. Such was his optimism.

The expedition took Sturt and his men along the Murray and Darling rivers, across vast areas of the dry interior of three states, and included lengthy forced encampments at water holes in western New South Wales, the area we now call Corner Country. In the end, sick, exhausted and starving, Sturt ordered a retreat and the depleted expedition group began the final push back to Adelaide.

Throughout the expedition there were many instances of interaction with local Aboriginal groups, causing Sturt to later write, “Notwithstanding that we treated the natives who came to the creek with every kindness, I could not but think that we were putting them to great inconvenience by our occupation (of this spot)”.

Despite suffering great deprivations during the expedition Sturt survived, partially because of the health-giving vitamins provided by native berries during the retreat, however, James Poole, second in command, perished and is buried on Mount Poole Station, near Milparinka.

The expedition is recalled along the Sturt’s Steps touring route where information is available on shelters along the route and in an interpretive centre in Milparinka.

Sturt’s Stories