Cunningham left Sydney on the 25th of February, 1831, on a visit to London, where he spent nearly two years at Kew, returning to Sydney on the 12th of February, 1837. He was appointed Colonial Botanist and Superintendent of the Botanic Gardens, but did not retain the position very long, being disgusted to find that supplying Government officials with vegetables was to be a chief part of his duties. He resigned, and after another visit to New Zealand, whence he returned in 1838, so ill was he that he was compelled to decline to accompany Captain Wickham on his survey of the north-west coast. He died of consumption on the 24th of January, 1839, at the cottage in the Botanic Gardens, whither he had been removed for change of air and scene. He was buried in the Devonshire Street cemetery, and on the 25th of May, 1901, his remains were removed to the obelisk in the Botanic Gardens.
CHAPTER 6. CHARLES STURT.
6.1. Early life.
Charles Sturt was born in India at Chunar-Ghur, on April the 28th, 1795. His father, Thomas Lennox Napier Sturt, was a puisne Judge in Bengal under the East India Company; his mother was Jeanette Wilson. The Sturts were an old Dorsetshire family. In 1799, Charles, as was common with most Anglo-Indian children, was sent home to England, to the care of his aunts, Mrs. Wood and Miss Wilson, at Newton Hall, Middlewich. He went first to a private school at Astbury, and in 1810 was sent to Harrow. On the 9th of September, 1813, he was gazetted as Ensign in the 39th Regiment of Foot. He served with his regiment in the Pyrenees, and in a desultory campaign in Canada. When Napoleon escaped from Elba, the 39th returned to Europe, but all too late to join in the victory of Waterloo, and it was stationed with the Army of Occupation in the north of France. In 1818, the regiment was sent to Ireland. Here for several years Sturt remained in most uncongenial surroundings, watching smugglers, seizing illicit stills, and assisting to quell a rising of the Whiteboys. It was in Ireland that the devoted John Harris, his soldier-servant, who was afterwards the companion of his Australian wanderings, was first attached to him. In 1823, Sturt was gazetted Lieutenant, and his promotion to Captain followed in 1825.
In December, 1826, he sailed for New South Wales with a detachment of his regiment, in charge of convicts. The moment he set foot on this vast unknown land, its chief geographical enigma at once occupied his attention. Sir Ralph Darling, to whom he acted for some time as private secretary, formed a high opinion of his tact and ability, and appointed him Major of Brigade and Military Secretary.
6.2. The Darling.
As soon as an expedition inland was mooted, Sturt volunteered for the leadership, and was recommended by Oxley, who was then on his deathbed. The recommendation was adopted by Governor Darling, and Sturt embarked on the career of exploration that was to render his name immortal.