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John McDouall Stuart's watch

A gold pocket watch.
Watch presented to John McDouall Stuart by the Royal Geographical Society, London in 1859. National Museum of Australia. Photo: George Serras.

Six expeditions across Australia

Between 1858 and 1862, John McDouall Stuart led six expeditions across inland Australia, relying on large teams of packhorses to carry his team’s supplies.

In 1858, Stuart, an assistant, an Aboriginal tracker and five horses set out northwards from Adelaide to Coober Pedy and then travelled southwest, finishing at Streaky Bay on the south coast of South Australia.

They identified 40,000 square miles of new pastoral country, relying on only six weeks' worth of rations to last them through the four months journey.

The Royal Geographic Society awarded this watch to Stuart in 1859 in recognition of this achievement.In 1861, Stuart set out again from Adelaide with 10 men and 71 horses to cross the continent from south to north. He made it home again with 48 horses, two carrying the weakened Stuart between them in a makeshift stretcher.

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