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Australian History

November 17, 1840 – Eyre replenishes his supplies at Fowler’s Bay, South Australia


Edward John Eyre Statue

Edward John Eyre Statue

Edward John Eyre was the first white man to cross southern Australia from Adelaide to the west, travelling across the Nullarbor Plain to King George’s Sound, now called Albany.

Eyre began the journey with his overseer, John Baxter, and three Aborigines, intending to cross the continent from south to north.

He was forced to revise his plans when his way became blocked by the numerous saltpans of South Australia, leading him to believe that a gigantic inland sea in the shape of a horseshoe prevented access to the north.

Following this fruitless attempt, Eyre regrouped at Streaky Bay, on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula.

He then travelled to past where Ceduna is today, reaching Fowler’s Bay on 17 November 1840.

Here, he replenished his food and water supplies from the government cutter ‘Waterwitch’.

He had to choose between attempting another northward trek, or heading west, which had never before been attempted.

Eyre chose to go west, finally reaching Albany in an epic journey of courage and determination.

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