Australian Explorers

Australian Explorers covers the people who explored and charted Australia, opening up the inland and the waterways for settlement. Many returned from their journeys, a few did not; but they all contributed something to the knowledge of this vast continent.

1,768 Questions

When did Thomas Mitchell explore Australia?

Thomas Mitchell undertook three major expeditions to explore in southern Australia, and one expedition in what is now Queensland.

His first expedition was to investigate rumours of a north-flowing river situated in northern New South Wales: a river that did not exist, but stories of which were spread by an escaped convict. He departed in November 1831.

Mitchell's second journey set out on 7 April 1835 from Boree Station, to follow and map the course of the Darling River which Sturt had discovered some years earlier.

On his third journey, Mitchell discovered the rich farming country of western Victoria, which he named "Australia Felix", or "Happy Australia". This journey was in 1836.

Mitchell departed on his fourth and final expedition on 16 December 1845, with Edmund Kennedy as his second in command, in search of a great river that he believed must flow from southern Queensland to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

More information about each of Mitchell's journeys can be found at the related link below.

When did John Mcdouall Stuart live?

John McDouall Stuart was born in Scotland on 7 September 1815. He died on 5 June 1866, aged fifty years.

Did Ludwig Leichhardt cross the continent?

Ludwig Leichhardt did not cross the continent on any of his expeditions. He was the first to cross from the southeast of Queensland to the far north Top End.

  • In October 1844, he left from Jimbour, on the Darling Downs, on an expedition to find a new route to Port Essington, near Darwin. The 4800 km overland journey reached its destination on 17 December 1845.
  • His second expedition, from the Darling Downs in Queensland to Perth in Western Australia, commenced in December 1846. This was his first attempt to cross the continent from east to west. However, wet weather and malaria forced the party to return after they had travelled only 800km.
  • Leichhardt's final expedition began in March 1848, picking up where his second expedition left off. However, somewhere in Australia's vast outback, Leichhardt, together with six other men, eight horses, fifty bullocks and twenty mules, vanished without a trace.

What are facts about Edward John Eyre?

Edward Eyre, born in 1815, was the son of a Yorkshire parson. He came to Australia where he began overlanding sheep and cattle. He aimed to be the first to overland stock from Sydney to the new colony established in South Australia, but lack of water forced him to return to Sydney.

Eyre gained important bush skills after he arrived in Australia. He wanted to be the first to cross the continent from south to north, but his discovery of salt lakes prevented him from getting through, as he was unable to find any of the breaks between the lakes. In fact, his maps of the region were drawn to show a huge, horseshoe-shaped salt lake which many regarded as an inland sea. These maps were enough to stop anyone else from trying to cross the continent for a couple of decades.

After his attempt to cross from south to north was thwarted, Eyre then turned his attention westwards. Eyre became the first European explorer to travel overland from east to west. Departing from Streaky Bay on the west coast of what is now the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, he made a long and arduous journey over the Nullarbor Plain to Albany, Western Australia.

Accompanying him was his overseer John Baxter, two NSW aboriginal men, Joey and Yarrie, and a Western Australian Aborigine, Wylie. While on the Nullarbor, Joey and Yarrie shot and killed Baxter and ran away with guns and food, leaving Eyre and Wylie to carry on alone.

Edward's Eyre's journey across the Nullarbor Plain was particularly dangerous for several reasons:

  • The territory, vegetation and terrain was completely unknown.
  • There was no certainty of food or water beyond what the exploration party could carry.
  • It was unknown what aboriginal tribes lived along the route.

As it was, prior to heading west, Eyre was assisted by members of the Anangu tribe who occupied the central South Australian outback. They were invaluable in helping Eyre's party find water in the desert.

More information about Edward Eyre can be found at the related website below.

What problems did Hume and Hovell encounter?

The main problems which these two explorers encountered involved the fact that they argued about almost everything.

Primarily, the men argued about who made which discoveries. They also argued about the naming of the Hume River (which Charles Sturt later named the Murray). Hovell said he named the river after Hume, while Hume claimed he named it after his father.

One of the major problems the men encountered was that several of the rivers they needed to cross were in flood that year. The men had a clever plan to cross the flooded rivers, which involved dismantling one of the carts and wrapping it in a tarpaulin, then using it as a punt, pulled by ropes across the river. As they cossed more and more rivers and were required to use the tarpaulin frequently, they argued about whether it would make each trip. After their journey was over, they even argued over whose idea it had been to make the punt.

Hume and Hovell also made miscalculations in distance and direction which resulted in them arriving at the wrong place. They were supposed to arrive at Westernport Bay, but they ended up on the wrong side of Port Phillip bay, and in fact arrived at Corio Bay.

Are there any places named after Edward John Eyre?


  • Lake Eyre (South Australia)
  • Eyre Peninsula (South Australia)
  • Eyre River (Western Australia)
  • Eyre (small settlement in South Australia)
  • Eyre Highway

Where did Charles Sturt go on his expedition to the Darling River?

Captain Charles Sturt discovered the Darling River whilst tracing the Macquarie River.

Following the Macquarie inland, he came to a smaller river, the Bogan, which, due to the drought, was merely a series of waterholes. Sturt followed the Bogan downstream until he arrived suddenly at what he described as "a noble river", on 2 February 1829. This was the Darling, which Sturt named after Governor Darling.

How long did it take Gregory Blaxland to cross the Blue Mountains?

Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth departed South Creek, Sydney Cove, on 11 May 1813. On 31 May they reached Mount Blaxland, from where they could see the plains to the west. The journey took 21 days, not counting their return.

When did Burke and wills arrive at the Gulf of Carpentaria?

Burke and Wills reached the tidal flats of the Gulf of Carpentaria on 11 February 1861.

What effects were made from Edward John Eyre exploring Australia?

Edward Eyre had a significant effect in bridging the gap between east and west. Prior to his expedition, no one knew what lay between Adelaide and Perth. Eyre's journey paved the way for the building of a road, and later a railway, after his route was surveyed several decades later by John Forrest.

Unfortunately, Eyre also slowed development of a route between the south and the north. Due to his bad luck in striking several of the smaller salt lakes thay lay in central South Australia, he believed that a huge horseshoe-shaped salt lake lay between Adelaide and the northern coast, and his reports that it was impossible to get through influenced the direction of Australian exploration for the next two decades by preventing anyone from attempting to get through.

Did aboriginals help Thomas Mitchell and his explorers?

The indigenous people of Australia did not assist Thomas Mitchell and his men. The Aborigines learnt from experience that Mitchell and his men were to be feared, and that they should stay away from them. On a number of occasions, Mitchell's men killed Aborigines, and at one stage even actively conducted an ambush, and subsequent massacre, of them.

Why did Allan Cunningham explore?

Allan Cunningham, one of Australia's early explorers, was born in Wimbledon, England, in 1791 and he originally came to Australia in an attempt to cure his tuberculosis.

The Australian climate did indeed help Cunningham regain some of his health, and so he developed a real love for the country, wanting to utilise his skills as a botanist to explore and discover more of the country. He was driven by curiosity as a botanist, and a passion for his adopted country.

What part of Australia did Burke and Wills discover?

Burke and Wills did not actually "discover" anything of value on their arduous trek across Australia's inland. They travelled from Melbourne, in the south, to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

They found no new rivers and no new pasture land. Their greatest claim to fame is the unfortunate fact that they embarked upon the biggest, most expensive expedition in Australia's history, and due to Burke's impatience, it ended up the most disastrous, with the loss of three lives.

What did Matthew Flinders take on his journeys?

Flinders took a sextant, compass, notepaper for observations and chart-making, pencils, food rations, barrels of water and his cat 'Trim' who was Matthew Flinders' constant companion on most of his journeys between 1799 and 1804.

What is named after Edward John Eyre?

Lake Eyre was named after Edward Eyre. He was the first white person to discover it. Also the Eyre Highway is named after him, and so is the Eyre Peninsula and a tiny place called Eyre.

What were John Forrest's achievements?

John Forrest was an Australian explorer from Western Australia. He also became the first Premier of Western Australia.

In 1869, Forrest led the search for Ludwig Leichhardt's expedition which had gone missing while travelling across Australia from east to west. This search was unsuccessful, but it gave Forrest the chance to do what he wished, which was to explore the uncharted areas of Western Australia.

In 1870, Forrest surveyed the route which Edward Eyre had taken in 1840-41 from Adelaide to Albany, across the Great Australian Bight. As the main route from eastern Australia overland to the west, he realised it needed to be surveyed so a road could be built, and later a railway.

What supplies did John Oxley take on the Lachlan River expedition?

he bought lots of people to carry stuff and Ak-47's to murder Evans once he found good grazing land. but George Evans cam prepare and while Oxley was sleeping slit his throat. though this was not Oxley at all it was on of his men GGeorge quickly evacuated and was soon found dead in a cave. it is thought he killed himself. this is a true story.

american international explorer trust.

What did Matthew Flinders do 1798?

In 1798 Matthew Flinders, together with George Bass, was commissioned by Governor Hunter to explore and circumnavigate Van Diemen's Land, to determine conclusively that it was an island. The two men set out in the 'Norfolk' on 7 October 1798. It was also the first time any Europeans had entered the Derwent River. The ship anchored in Risdon Cove, and Flinders described the area as "Very beautiful country, with a rich and luxuriant soil".

Where did Allan Cunningham explore in Queensland?

Cunningham discovered the rich farming land of the Darling Downs (1827) which led to inland settlement of what is now southern Queensland, and Cunningham's Gap (1828). The discovery of Cunningham's Gap meant that landowners on the Darling Downs did not need to send their products overland to Sydney and markets, but could take the shorter and easier route of coastal shipping.

Where was Charles Sturt's 2nd expedition?

Charles Sturt's second journey was sponsored by Governor Darling who commissioned Sturt to trace the course of the Murrumbidgee River, and to see whether it joined to the Darling. This was in December 1829- February 1830. On this expedition, Sturt discovered that the Murrumbidgee River flowed into the Murray (previously named the Hume), as did the Darling.

What Australian explorer named Australia in 1813?

No explorer named Australia in 1813. Matthew Flinders was the one who first proposed the name "Terra Australis" in 1803 some time after he circumnavigated the continent, and this became "Australia", the name adopted in 1824.

The name "Australia" was first proposed by Matthew Flinders in the early 1800s, as part of the full name Terra Australis,meaning Southern land. The name was suggested in Flinders's "A Voyage to Terra Australis", which was published on 18 July 1814, ironically just one day before Flinders died.

The actual name "Australia" was then adopted in 1824.

Edward Madden Lyricist is Australian?

edward madden was an American songwriter born in New York in 1878 and died in California in 1952