On the 21st of September, Hann crossed the historical Endeavour River, and upon a small creek running into this inlet, he lost one of his horses from poison. Below the Endeavour, the party encountered similar difficulties to those that dogged poor Kennedy’s footsteps — impenetrable scrub and steep ravines. This went on for some days, and an attempt to reach the seashore involved them in a perfect sea of scrub, and necessitated the final conclusion that advance by white men and horses was impossible. Hann had reluctantly to make up his mind to return by the Gulf Coast, and abandon the unexplored ground to the south of him.
After many entanglements in the ranges, and confusion arising from the tortuous courses of the rivers, the watershed was at last crossed, and on the 28th of October they camped once more on the Palmer, whence they safely returned along their outward course.
The gold discoveries on the Palmer, and the rush caused thereby, coming soon after this expedition, led to a great deal of minor exploration done under the guise of prospecting; and it is greatly to the work of prospectors for gold that much of the knowledge of the petty details of the geographical features of Australia is due. To the courage and endurance of this class of settler, Australia owes a great debt, but their labours are unrecorded and often forgotten.
[Illustration. Statue of John McDouall Stuart, in the Lands Office, Sydney.]
11.1. Settlement of Adelaide and the overlanders.
The exploration of the centre of the continent was long retarded by the difficult nature of the country — by its aridity, its few continuously-watered rivers, and the supposed horse-shoe shape of Lake Torrens, which thrust its vast shallow morass across the path of the daring explorers making north.
For most of us of the present day, to whom Lake Torrens is but a geographical feature, it is hard to imagine the sense of awe it inspired in the breasts of the South Australian settlers, who appeared to be cut off completely from the north by its gloomy and forbidding environs of salt and barrenness.
In 1836, Colonel Light surveyed the shores of St. Vincent’s Gulf, and selected the site of the city of Adelaide. Governor Hindmarsh and a company of emigrants arrived soon afterwards, and the Province of South Australia was proclaimed.
The very promising discoveries made to the south of the Murray by Major Mitchell soon induced an invasion of adventurous pastoralists bringing their stock from the settled parts of New South Wales.