Was he the greatest of Australian explorers? In 1862 John McDouall Stuart finally succeeded in crossing the continent from sea to sea. He took off his boots, dipped his feet in the Indian Ocean, and hoisted the Union Jack. When Stuart and his companions returned to Adelaide, they were celebrated as heroes of the age.
They had navigated their way on horseback through vast expanses of country unknown to Europeans, struggling from one water source to the next. Yet the country they travelled through was already home to thousands of people, celebrated in song and story, every feature of the landscape known and named. The intruders and their strange animals were observed, their tracks closely examined.
Stuart’s explorations were the catalyst for great changes, both for the new colonists and for the people who had been living on country for tens of thousands of years.
“Crossing Country” is the best and most lavish Stuart exhibition ever launched. It recognises the 150th Anniversary of Stuart’s crossing of the Australian continent and draws on many items not previously seen by the public.
Visit Crossing Country at the Migration Museum, 82 Kintore Ave, Adelaide. Open 10-5 weekdays and 1-5 on weekends.