Colonial Exploration: The Explorers

1788 - Lieutenant Shortland, with three ships, sailing from Sydney to England, passed through Bougainvilles Strait, north-west coast.

1788 - Jean Francois Galup de la Perouse visited Botany Bay, NSW.

1789 - Watkin Tench embarked on a series of expeditions in which the Hawkesbury and the Nepean Rivers, NSW, were discovered. A few months later, William Dawes and others explored south and west of Rose Hill.

1791 - Captain George Vancouver, in the Discovery and Chatham, explored the south-west coast, and discovered King George's Sound, WA.

1791 - Captain William Bligh passed Cape York, Qld, in the Bounty's launch.

1791 - Captain Edward Edwards, in search of the mutineers of the Bounty, was wrecked on a Qld reef.

1791 - John McCluer, captain of the East India Co. ship Panther, sailed along Arnhem's Land to Cape Van Diemen, NT.

1792 - Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteaux in Le Recherche and L'Esperance, explore parts of the Tasmanian and WA coastlines in their search for the missing la Perouse.

1792 - Captains William Bligh and Nathaniel Portlock in the Providence and Assistant examined Torres Strait, Qld.

1792 - runaway convict John Wilson may have been the first European to cross the Blue Mountains, NSW.

1793 - Matthew Bowes Alt and William Bampton, in the ships Hormuzeer and Chesterfield pass through Torres Strait.

1793 - Colonel Paterson rowed up the Hawkesbury River, NSW, and named the Grose River.

1793 - Don Alexandro Malaspina, with the Spanish discovery ships Descobierta and Atrevida, arrived at Sydney. Malaspina was imprisoned on his return to Calais.

1794 - John Hayes, with the ships Duke of Clarence and Duchess of Bengal, visited Tasmania, re-naming the discoveries of D'Entrecasteaux. Some of these we again re-named by Baudin in 1802.

1794 - Quarter-master Henry Hacking attempted to cross the Blue Mountains, NSW.

1795-96 - Dr. George Bass and Matthew Flinders explored around Sydney in the Tom Thumb.

1796- Quarter-master Henry Hacking explored land to the south of Botany Bay, NSW.

1796 - Lieutenant Richard Bowen visited and named Jervis Bay, NSW.

1796-97 - Dr George Bass attempted to cross the Blue Mountains, NSW.

1797 -Dr George Bass's whaleboat survey of the coast to the south of Sydney, NSW.

1797 - Lieutenant Shortland discovered the Hunter River, NSW.

1798 - Dr. George Bass and Matthew Flinders discovered Bass's Strait in the Norfolk.

1798 - Quarter-master Hacking made a second attempt to cross the Blue Mountains, NSW.

1799 - Matthew Flinders, in the Norfolk, sails north to the GlassHouse Mountains and Hervey Bay, Qld.

1801 - James Grant, in the Lady Nelson, examined Bass Strait and verified Bass's discovery.

1801 - Ensign Barrallier explores the foothills of the Blue Mountains, NSW.

1801-2 - Matthew Flinders, in the Investigator, surveyed all the coasts of Australia.

1801-2 - Captains Baudin and Hamelin, with the French ships Naturaliste and Géographe, explored the Australian coast.

1802 - Lieut. John Murray and Surveyor Grimes, in the Lady Nelson discovered and surveyed Port Phillip.
Survey by Lieut. Charles Robbins of the H.M.S. Buffalo.

1802 - Lieutenant Charles Robbins sent to Van Diemen's Land to claim it for Britain and look for suitable sites for a settlement.

1803 - George Caley, botanist, attempted to discover cross the Blue Mountains, NSW.

1803 - The first settlement of Tasmania at Risdon Cove.

1804 - Lieutenant-Governor David Collins sails from England in HMS Calcutta to form a penal settlement at Port Phillip, Vic, accompanied by the transport Ocean. He landed and established a settlement, but finally decided that Port Phillip was unfit to meet the requirements of settlement. They moved the colony to Tasmania.

1804-5 - Lieutenant Charles Robbins and John Oxley, in the cutter Integrity examined Western Port, Vic, with a view to settlement; their opinion was unfavourable.

1804 - William Paterson established a settlement on the Tamar River, Tas.

1812 - George William Evans journeyed from Jervis Bay to the Shoalhaven River, NSW.

1813 - Wentworth, Lawson, and Blaxland succeeded in crossing the Blue Mountains, NSW. | Blaxland's account of the Crossing of the Blue Mountains

1814 - Hamilton Hume explored the country round Berrima, NSW, with his brother. It was his first exploratory trip.

1815 - Deputy-Surveyor Evans made the first discovery of an inland river - the Macquarie.
Evans's Journal of his Journey to the Bathurst Plains
Governor Macquarie's Report on the Country Beyond the Mountains
Evans's Discovery of the Lachlan
Evans's Discovery of the Castlereagh

1817 - Louis de Freycinet, in L'Uranie, visited Sydney before proceeding to and exploring Shark Bay.

1817-20 - Captain Phillip Parker King with Allan Cunningham, botanist, survey of the Australian coasts in the cutter Mermaid.

1817 - Meehan and Hume discovered Lake George, Lake Bathurst, and Goulburn Plains, NSW.

1817-19 - John Oxley, Surveyor-General of NSW, explored the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers.
Oxley's Exploration of the Lachlan
Oxley's Exploration of the Macquarie

1819 - Surveyor-General Oxley, accompanied by Meehan and Hume, travel overland to Jervis Bay, NSW.

1820 - Captain Stewart sent by Governor Macquarie with a small party in a boat to search for a passage supposed to exist between Lake Bathurst and the sea. He lost his boat in Twofold Bay, and on endeavouring to reach Sydney overland was cut off by the natives.

1821-22 - Captain Phillip Parker King continues his coastal survey in the Bathurst. .

1822 - William Lawson and Mr Scott attempted to reach Liverpool Plains, NSW, and discover the Goulburn River.

1822-24 - Captain Duperry in La Coquille; voyage amongst the Line Islands.

1823 - Captain Mark John Currie and Major John Ovens explored the Murrumbidgee River, NSW.

1823 - Allan Cunningham found Pandora's Pass, a good stock route to the Liverpool Plains, NSW.

1823 - Surveyor-General Oxley investigated Port Curtis, Port Bowen and Moreton Bay, Qld. They discover the Brisbane River.

1824 - Sir Gordon Bremer travelled to Fort Dundas on Melville Island, NT, to establish a military outpost there.

1824 - Hamilton Hume and W. H. Hovell journey overland to Port Phillip. | diary

1825 - Allan Cunningham explored north of Bathurst, NSW.
Allan Cunningham's Explorations

1825 - Major Edmund Lockyer made a boat excursion up the Brisbane River, Qld | Lockyer's Exploration of the Brisbane River

1826 - Captain Peter Dillon, in the East India Company's surveying vessel, Research, sailed the west coast of Tasmania.

1826 - Major Edmund Lockyer, founded the King George's Sound (Albany, WA) settlement.

1826 - Captain Dumont D'Urville, in L'Astrolabe, sailed through Bass Strait.

1827-28 - Captain Gould travelled the south coast of Eyre Peninsula, near Port Lincoln, SA.

1827 - Allan Cunningham discovered the Darling Downs, the Dumaresque, Gwydir and Condamine Rivers, etc., Qld.

1828 - Allan Cunningham, accompanied by Charles Frazer, botanist, travelled from the Moreton Bay settlement, Qld, to the Darling Downs by way of Cunningham's Gap.

1828 - Captain James Stirling, accompanied by Charles Frazer in HMS Success; surveyed the coast of King George's Sound to the Swan River.

1828-29 - Captain Charles Sturt's embarked on first expedition; he discovered New Year's Creek (now the Bogan) and the Darling River, NSW.

1829 - explorer Hay explored the country back of Parry's Inlet and discovered the Denmark River, WA.

1829 - Captain Robert Fitzroy visited King George's Sound, WA, in the Beagle.

1829 - Allan Cunningham explored the Brisbane River, Qld, to its source on his last expedition.

1839-30 - Captain Charles Sturt embnarked on his Murrumbidgee River, NSW, expedition; he sailed down the Murray River.
Sturt's Discovery of the Darling
Sturt's Discovery of the Murray

1830 - Ensign Robert Dale followed the upper Swan River up the Avon River, WA.

1831 - Major Thomas Bannister travelled overland from Perth to King George's Sound, WA.

1831-32 - Sir Thomas Mitchell embarked on his Kindur expedition.

1832 - Captain Collet Barker was murdered at Lake Alexandrina, SA, by the hostile Aborigines.

1833 - Surveyor Robert Dixon explored the Bogan River, NSW.

1833 - Sir Thomas Mitchell explored the Namoi River, NSW. Richard Cunningham, botanist, brother to Allan Cunningham was murdered by Aborigines while with Sir Thomas Mitchell's expedition.

1835 - Edward Henty and brother James formed a settlement in Portland Bay, Vic.

1836 -John Batman landed at Port Phillip, Vic, explored it and became a permanent settler there.

1836 - Colonel William Light surveyed the shores of St. Vincent's Gulf, and selected site of present city of Adelaide, SA.

1836 - Captain Hobson (later Governor of New Zealand) surveyed Port Phillip Bay in HMS Rattlesnake, and named Hobson's Bay.

1836 - Sir Thomas Mitchell's explored through what he referred to as Australia Felix.
Mitchell's Exploration of Australia Felix

1837 - Captain George Grey (afterwards Governor of SA), with Lieutenant Lushington, explored the north-west coast of WA.

1837 - George Hesse and Joseph Tice Gellibrand were murdered by Aborigines while exploring in the Cape Otway region, Vic.

1837-45 - Captains Wickham and John Lort Stokes surveyed the coasts of Australia in the Beagle, completing the geographical knowledge of the shores of the continent.

1838 - Edward John Eyre trekked overland from Port Phillip, Vic, to Adelaide, SA; in so doing he discovered Lake Hindmarsh, SA.

1838 - Sir Gordon Bremer re-settled Port Essington, NT.

1839 - Captain George Grey embarked on his second expedition through the north of WA.

1839 - Schooner Champion examined the west coast (WA) for navigable rivers.

1839 - George Hamilton and party followed Charles Bonney's southern route, driving cattle from Sydney, NSW, to Adelaide, SA.

1839 - George Gawler, Governor of S,; made an excursion to the Murray River.

1839 - Edward John Eyre trekked to the head of Spencer's Gulf and Lake Torrens, Port Lincoln, and Streaky Bay, SA.

1840 - Angus McMillan dexplored Gippsland, Vic.

1840 - Patrick Leslie, called the father of Darling Downs settlement, settled on the Condamine River, Qld.

1840-41 - Edward John Eyre travelled the Great Bight to King George's Sound, WA.
Eyre's Journey from Fowler's Bay to Albany | Jourmal

1841 - John Orr and party explored Gippsland, Vic.

1841 - John McDouall Stuart and Sydenham Russell trek inland from Cecil Plains Station.

1841 - Dr. Edward Barker, Edward Hobson, and Albert Brodribb were the first to walk from Melbourne to Gippsland, Vic. The present highway through Gippsland follows their track.

1842 - Stuart Henry Russell discovered Boyne River, Qld, and journeyed from Moreton to Wide Bay in a boat.

1842-45 - Captain Blackwood continued the surveys begun by Captains Wickham and Stokes in HMS Fly; he made a minute examination of the Great Barrier Reef.

1843 - Count Paul von Strzelecki explored the Gippsland region, Vic.

1843 - Captain Edward Charles Frome, Surveyor-General of SA, explored in the neighbourhood of Lake Torrens.

1843 - Henry Landor and Henry Maxwell Lefroy explored the Goldfields region of WA.

1843 - John Ainsworth Horrocks was killed by the explosion of his gun at the head of Spencer's Gulf, SA, soon after the start of his expedition.

1844 - 45-Captain Charles Sturt embarked on his great Central Desert expedition, SA/NT.
1858 - J. McDouall Stuart; first expedition
Stuart's Journey into Central Australia

1844-45 - Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt embarked on his first expedition from Jimbour Station, Darling Downs, Qld, to Port Essington, NT; Gilbert, the expedition's naturalist, was killed by natives.

1845-46 - Sir Thomas Mitchell embarked on his Barcoo expedition.

1846 - Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt embarked on his second expedition.

1846 - Augustus Charles Gregory and brothers embarked on their first expedition in WA.

1847 - Edmund Kennedy explored the Victoria River and named the Thompson.

1847 - Baron Von Mueller embarked on his expeditions into SA and the Australian Alps for botanical and geographical research.

1848 - Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt's last expedition.

1848 - Edmund Kennedy's fatal venture up Cape York Peninsula, Qld.

1848 - Augustus Charles Gregory explored the Gascoyne River, Qld.

1848 - Captain Charles Fitzgerald, Governor of WA, examined the new mineral discovery north of Geraldton, accompanied by A. C. Gregory, and named it the Geraldine Mine.

1848-49 - John Septimus Roe, Surveyor-General of WA, trekked from York to Esperance Bay, WA.

1851 - John Oakden and H.S. Hulkes, two squatters, explored the west side of Lake Torrens in the vicinity of where Woomera, SA, is today.

1852 - Hovenden Hely heading a search party for Leichhardt, left from Darling Downs, Qld.

1854 - Robert Austin, Assistant Surveyor-General of WA, embarked on a trek in search of pastoral country, and to examine the interior for auriferous deposits.

1855-56 - Augustus Charles Gregory and Baron von Mueller embarked on a northern Australian expedition in search of Leichhardt; they discovered Sturt's Creek and the Elsey.

1855 - B Herschel Babbage embarked on an expedition to examine country north and east of Adelaide, SA, for gold. In a second expedition the same year he discovered Blanche Water.

1857 - Charles Swinden and Murdock Campbell, experienced pastoralists, commenced an expedition near the head of Spencers Gulf, SA, penetrating as far north as Elizabeth Creek. Swinden leased land on the creek and for many years the region was known as Swinden's country. Later that year Campbell explored 80 km further north. west of Lake Eyre.

1857 - George Woodroffe Goyder, Deputy Surveyor-General of SA, was sent to examine and survey the country about Blanche Water. Major-General Sir Arthur Henry Freeling, Surveyor-General of SA, was later sent to verify Goyder's report; he decided that Goyder had been misled by a mirage.

1857 - Surveyor Stephen Hack with Frederick Miller examined Gawler Range, SA, and sighted Lake Gairdner.

1857 - Major Peter Warburton crossed Stephen Hack's track.

1857 - Frederick Miller and C.W. Dutton explored country around Fowlers Bay, SA.

1858 - Sir Richard Graves McDonnell explored the SA outback to Strangways and Loddon Springs; also up the River Murray to Mount Murchison.

1858 - B Herschel Babbage embarked on his third expedition from Adelaide, SA; he was superseded by Major Warburton.

1858 - Major Peter Warburton continued the expedition started by B Herschel Babbage. This trip established the definite size and shape of Lake Torrens, SA.

1858 - Samuel Parry, Government Surveyor, SA; embarked on an expedition around Lake Torrens, Lake Gregory, and Blanche Water.

1858 - Francis (Frank) Gregory reached the Gascoyne River, WA; discovered Mount Augustus and Mount Gould.

1858 - Augustus Charles Gregory embarked on his Barcoo expedition to search for traces of Leichhardt's party. He confirmed the supposed identity of the Barcoo and Cooper's Creek.

1858 - John McDouall Stuart; second expedition.
Stuart's Journey to the Centre of Australia

1859 - John McDouall Stuart embarked on his third expedition; one of his party, Hergott, discovered and named Hergott Springs.
Stuart's Journey Across the Continent

1859 - John McDouall Stuart embarked on his fourth expedition

1859 - George E. Dalrymple discovered the main tributaries of the Lower Burdekin, Bowen, and Bogie Rivers, Qld.

1860 - Edward Cunningham and party explored the Upper Burdekin, Qld.

1861 - J. Neilson and brothers went in search of pastoral country, travelling from Mount Ranken on the Darling to Cooper's Creek.

1860-61 - Burke and Wills' expedition; the death of Burke, Wills, and Gray. The Burke and Wills Expedition | alternate

1861-62 - John McDouall Stuart's fifth expedition in which he crossed the continent after two attempts.

1861 - John McKinlay travelled into the interior of SA.

1861 - Francis (Frank) Gregory discovered the Hammersley Range, Fortescue, Ashburton, De Grey, and Oakover Rivers, WA.

1861 - Andrew Dempster and D Clarkson explored the Esperance region of WA.

1861-62 - William Landsborough headed a search party for Burke and Wills.

1861-62 - Frederick Walker led the Rockhampton search party for Burke and Wills. He pushed through from the Barcoo to the depot found on the Gilbert River. Freshly provisioned, he returned and reached the Lower Burdekin well nigh horseless, and barely alive.

1861 - Alfred Howitt headed a Victorian search party for Burke and Wills. J. Welch, second in command of Howitt's search party, found King, the only survivor of the Burke and Wills expedition.

1861-62. - John McKinlay headed a relief party for Burke and Wills from Adelaide, SA.

1862 - George Woodroffe Goyder explored the coasts of the Gt Australian Bight.

1859 - George E. Dalrymple explored the waters of the Upper Burdekin River, Qld.

1862 - Delisser and Hardwicke explored from Fowlers Bay, SA, to the edge of the Victorian Desert.

1863 - Thomas Macfarlane attempted to push inland north of the Gt Australian Bight, SA.

1863 - Henry Maxwell Lefroy and party trekked eastward from York, WA.

1863 - Charles Cook Hunt and Ridley trekked to the De Grey River, WA.

1863 - Alexander Jardine founded the settlement of Somerset, Cape York, Qld.

1863 - William Landsborough tool charge of the new township of Burketown on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

1864-65 - Alexander and Frank Jardine trekked overland to Somerset, on the west coast of Cape York, Qld.

1864 - Colonel Boyle Travers Finnis formed a settlement at Escape Cliffs, NT.

1864 - John McKinlay explored the Alligator River, searching for a suitable site for a township; it was his last expedition.

1864 - Charles Cook Hunt explores east of York, WA.

1865 - George Woodroffe Goyder removed settlement of Escape Cliffs, NT, to Port Darwin.

1864 - Frederick Walker examined the country beyond Rockingham Bay, marking ab overland telegraph line from there to the mouth of the Norman River in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

1866-7 - Sir George Strong Nares, in command of HMS Salamander, surveyed the eastern and north-eastern coasts of Australia and Torres Straits.

1869 - John Forrest embarked on his first expedition - to Lake Barlee, WA.

1870 - John Ross lead an exploration party under Charles Dodd to determine the path of the Overland Telegraph line, SA and NT.

1870 - John Forrest travelled from Perth to Adelaide alongside the Gt Australian Bight.

1871 - Alexander Forrest leaded a private expedition in search of new pastoral country in WA.

1872 - J William Lewis explored from Lake Eyre, SA, to the Queensland border.

1872 - Ernest Giles embarked on his first expedition; he discovered Lake Amadeus - a large, dry, salt lake.

1872 - William Hann, a pioneer squatter of Queensland, led an expedition equipped by the Qld Government to make an examination as 'far north as the fourteenth parallel, with a special view to its mineral and other resources. On the trip, Warner, the surveyor, found prospects of gold, which resulted in the discovery of one of the richest goldfields in Australia.

1873 - Ernest Giles embarked on his second trip; Giles recorded the death of team member Gibson, after whom he named the Gibson Desert.

1873 - Major Warburton crossed from Alice Springs to the Oakover River, WA.

1873 - W. C. Gosse headed a central and western Exploration expedition from Alice Springs, NT.

1874 - John Ross and son started from Peake Station, SA, but failed in their endeavours to bridge the desert.

1874 - John Forrest trekked from the Murchison River, WA, to the overland telegraph line, NT.

1875 - J William Lewis, formerly one of Warburton's party, and W. Beresford, were sent by the SA Government to survey the country around Lake Eyre.

1875-76 - Ernest Giles made his third and only successful effort to reach WA from SA; he returned to Peake Station.

1876 - Surveyor Gilbert McMinn and A. W. Sergison embarked on an expedition to ascertain the course of the Katherine River, NT.

1877 - Pastoralists A. W. Sergison and Roderick Travers explored the country round the Daly and Fitzmaurice Rivers, NT.

1877 - John Ross and William Harvey explored beyond the Flinders Ranges, SA, to the Finke River.

1876 - William Oswald Hodgkinson embarked on their north-west expedition to the Diamantina and Mulligan Rivers, Qld.

1876 - Philip Saunders and Adam Johns trekked from Roebourne, WA, to the overland telegraph line, NT.

1878 - brothers Cornelius and Albert Prout started out from SA looking for suitable grazing country across the Qld border. They never returned. Some months afterwards some of their horses and the bones of one of the brothers were discovered by William Henry James Carr Boyd. It was evident from the fragments of a diary found that they had died of thirst on their homeward way.

1878 - overlander Nathaniel Buchanan travelled to the overland telegraph line, NT, from Qld border. He discovered Buchanan's Creek.

1878 - Frank Scarr, a Qld surveyor, attempted to cross the a south of Buchanan's track; he was prevented by a waterless belt of country, and so made north to Tennant's Creek station, NT.

1878-79 - Ernest Favenc headedthe Queenslander Transcontinental Expedition from Blackall to Powell's Creek Station on the overland telegraph line, NT.

1879 - Alexander Forrest led an expedition from the De Grey River, WA, to the overland telegraph line, NT; he discovered the Ord and Margaret Rivers.

1878-80 - Charles Winnecke and Herbert Vere Barclay were two surveyors dispatched by the SA Government to reach the Qld border from the overland telegraph line, NT. Their failed task was to settle the position of the border line between the two colonies. Another attempt in 1880 proved successful.

1882-83 - Ernest Favenc embarked on a trek to explore the coastal rivers of the Gulf of Carpentaria, particularly the Macarthur River; he then crossed to the overland telegraph line, NT.

1883 - William O'Donnell and William Henry James Carr Boyd traveled from the overland telegraph line, NT, to Kimberley District, WA.

1883 - David Lindsay explored Arnhem Land, NT, and reported that, on the whole, the country passed over was favourable for settlement, some of it being first class sugar country.

1884-85 - Harry Stockdale headed an expedition from Cambridge Gulf, WA, to explore the country in the neighbourhood with a view to settlement. He was landed by steamer in Cambridge Gulf - it was probably the first landing that had taken place there since Captain Stokes. After a hard struggle, he reached the telegraph line with one companion, having sent back the others for relief supplies.

1884-5 - William O'Donnell and William Henry James Carr Boyd traveled overland from the Katherine Telegraph Station, NT, to the Kimberley District, WA.

1888 - Ernest Favenc examined the country surrounding the Gascoyne and Murchison Rivers, WA, starting from Geraldton.