Special Sub-Topic: Australian Explorers
|Who was the first European to sight the Australian coast (the year will give it away)?|
Willem Jansz. Jansz and his crew sighted Cape York in 1606.
|Who was the first to circumnavigate Tasmania?|
Bass and Flinders. Yep, in 1798-9. George Bass sailed for an unknown destination in the Pacific in 1803, and was never seen again.
|Which trio was the first to cross the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney)?|
Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth. The first successful crossing was in 1813, as the search for new pastoral lands became more intense. Blaxland used the idea of following ridges rather than valleys, having identified the latter technique as the reason the mountains had been rendered impassable.
|What was the most expensive expedition ever undertaken on Australian soil?|
Burke and Wills, 1860-61. The colony of Victoria imported 24 camels from what is now Pakistan for the expedition. Some of the camels escaped, and their descendants now make up part of the 200,000 feral camels roaming inland Australia. The material used in making their saddlebags, Rosydock, is now recognised as the number one noxious weed in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Oh, and by the way, the expedition was a tragic failure.
|Which German botanist disappeared with his entire crew and twenty horses and drays without trace in 1847?|
Ludwig Leichhardt. Leichhardt set out to collect plants in the interior of Cape York, attempting to strike out west over what are now the Atherton Tablelands. Search parties were sent out for as long as 15 years after (twice led by A.C. Gregory) and all found nothing. In 1995, Major Les Hiddins (TVs 'Bush Tucker Man' conducted a similar search but also failed to find any evidence. Strange eh? Nowadays most major Australian cities have either a suburb or prominent city street named after him.
|Who was the first explorer to name and climb Ayers Rock (Uluru)?|
William Gosse. Gosse named and climbed Ayers Rock late in the winter of 1873. He named the monolith after his benefactor (and father of his sweetheart) Henry Ayers, later Governor of South Australia. Ernest Giles travelled to the same area one year earlier (and three months later, much to his disgust) but was impeded in reaching the monolith in his first attempt by the large salt lake, Lake Amadeus, 35 miles to the north.
|Why were so many expeditions sent into the Australian interior in the early 1860's?|
The colonies were competing to find a route for a telegraph line. The overland telegraph line (OTL) shortened communication between Britain and Australia from a maximum of three months to just one day.
|What does the 'riddle of the rivers' refer to?|
There was a strong belief in an Inland Sea but no one could prove it. Many expeditions (particularly Charles Sturt's) took sailors and shipbuilders along in anticipation of reaching a huge inland lake.
|The last of the great explorers surveyed and built 5000 miles of road in the interior between 1950 and 1970. Who was this?|
Len Beadell. Yep Lenny's the man. Leif would have died of exposure, Bert would have lost his toothbrush and Jeremy would have followed it all up with 'Funniest Exploration Bloopers'.
|Who was the only leader of a colonial expedition never to have lost a man from disease, thirst or attack from the Aborigines?|
John McDouall Stuart. Stuart also has the 'distinction' of never having killed an Aboriginal person whilst exploring. His expedition was savagely attacked at a place now called Attack Creek in the Northern Territory but he managed to keep all parties calm. Curiously, just short of Attack Creek he found very old dray tracks heading west and a camp with a large blazed bloodwood tree which was the trademark calling card of the disappeared Ludwig Leichhardt). Sadly, his record of fair treatment of the Aborigines was somewhat of an anomaly in the record of early exploration.
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction