The Amazing Adventures of Charles Sturt
Join us on an epic expedition…
Get set for an unforgettable journey kids, because we’re about to take you on a trip back in time to when the great explorer, Charles Sturt, was on the road to discovery….
Charles Sturt facts
Full name: Charles Napier Sturt
Hometown: Bengal, India
Died: 16 June 1869
Best known for: His exploration of central Australia and the Murray river.
Who was Charles Sturt?
Charles Sturt was born 28 April, 1795 in Bengal, India and his exploration down the Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers is considered one of the greatest in Australian history.
Sturt was sent to school in England when he was five-years-old. He eventually joined the army in 1813 and served in Spain, Ireland, Canada and France. In 1827, Sturt sailed for New South Wales to escort convicts to Sydney. On arriving, he rather liked the place! In fact, he developed a great interest in the country and decided to stay and explore this incredible landscape.
What is Charles Sturt famous for?
Back in the 1800s, much of the Australian continent had not yet been mapped and Charles Sturt was keen to make his mark. He got his boss, Governor Darling’s okay to set out and solve some of the country’s mysteries.
In 1828, he followed the Macquarie River through the Macquarie Marshes traversing the region of the Macquarie, Bogan and Castlereagh Rivers, discovering Darling River en route! The mission proved that the rivers didn’t flow into an inland sea – as people had previously thought – they were flowing somewhere else… But where? It was time for another expedition!
On his second expedition, from 1829-30, Sturt traced the Murrumbidgee River to its junction with the Murray River and with the help of the local Aborigines (native Australians) located the mouth of the Murray at Lake Alexandrina. And this time, he managed to solve the mystery of where those west-flowing rivers were headed – they all flowed into the Murray River.
In 1838, Charles followed the Murray River rather than the more usual route to Adelaide along the Murrumbidgee River, where he mapped the course of the Murray above its junction with the Murrumbidgee. This had never been done before!
Did Charles Sturt discover the Sturt Desert Pea?
Well, sort of! In 1845, Charles Sturt recorded spotting lots of the ‘desert peas’ – a beautiful red flower – on his journey exploring Australia in 1844. However, specimens of Sturt’s Desert Pea were first collected by William Dampier who recorded his first sighting on 22 August 1699. The flower was later named ‘Sturt’s Desert Pea’ to honour the explorer.
How did Charles Sturt die?
Sturt had suffered poor health since his second expedition. A combination of extreme heat in the Australian summer, a lack of food and water and the effort required to row upriver, against the current left him blind for several months. His sight eventually returned but his health never truly recovered. He died suddenly in 1869.
How is Charles Sturt remembered?
Charles Sturt has been commemorated in many ways. There’s the City of Charles Sturt in Adelaide’s western suburbs and the suburb Sturt, also in Adelaide. Then there’s Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, the Sturt Highway from Wagga Wagga to Adelaide as well as the Sturt Stony Desert. In fact, the list goes on… do you know any others? Get in touch! Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org