Exploring the Stuart Highway and Oodndatta book



Known as "The King of Explorers"

Stuart was the greatest of the inland explorers. He was a surveyor and very exact with his map-making and notes. After being the first European to Central Australia, he tried a number of times to cross Australia from south to north. Leading a team of ten men and 71 horses, he finally reached the Northern shores in July 1862. They had a small ceremony and erected the flag on July 25th and then started their perilous journey back to Adelaide.


Follow the Explorers’ journey 




Burke and Wills

in 1861 there was a race to be first across the continent. The Victorian government had raised £12,000 for a Victorian Expedition led by Robert O'Hara Burke. Seventeen men, twenty-seven camels specially imported, horses and carts and the best that money could buy equipped the expedition. The expedition left from Melbourne, farewelled by a crowd of 10,000 people.


The Great Northern Exploring Expedition

On 8th January 1862 Stuart's Great Northern Expedition left Chambers Creek. The procession of eleven men and seventy-one horses was an impressive site.
News had reached Adelaide that the explorers Burke and Wills had perished.


Stuart knew the dangers of leading another expedition into the Outback. The responsibility of all their lives depended on him. Apart from lack of water and poisonous plants the horses could eat, they could be caught up in a wall of fire, or attacked by a large Aboriginal population. Once before the explorers had escaped these perils by galloping for their lives.


Follow the Expedition across Australia without leaving sealed roads. 


The Journey

The gaunt weary explorers with their emaciated horses, finally arrived back in Adelaide more than 12 months after they had left. In all Stuart's expeditions, no lives were lost. Great celebrations were held.


Drive the route and share the experiences



The Overland Telegraph Line

Building the Overland telegraph Line was an enterprise of epic proportions– a single wire crossing the continent 3200 kms north to south, that brought Australia into communication with the world. The line linked to an undersea cable and revolutionised communication. News would take just hours to reach Australia instead of weeks.


The project was immense. Charles Todd, telegraphic superintendent had estimated the cost and was in charge. As well as the telegraph poles, eleven repeater stations were set up manned by teams of operators to boost the signal.






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