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Timber Creek - early European exploration

THEME: Timber Creek
TOPIC: early European exploration

The Portuguese sailors first charted the Victoria River area, making the Dieppe map. This map shows most of the Northern Australian coastline; including the Victoria River.

In 1839 Caption John Wickham sailed the H.M.S. Beagle into the river, finding such an amazing and beautiful land. He decided it was worthy of naming it after her most gracious majesty the Queen. Hence the name Victoria River.

“This is indeed a noble river!” burst from several lips… (Lt’ Stokes, aboard H.M.S. Beagle)


A C Gregory, an early day explorer of the region, desperately needed lumber to repair his ship, the Tom Tough. Sailing past the mouth of the Victoria River, he proceeded inland to the area of present day Timber Creek. Trees were lumbered from the area and used for the ship’s repairs. Gregory also set up a base camp in that same location.. From this base camp, Gregory led two trips into the Victoria region. His exploration party consisted of seventeen men, among them a botanist, naturalist, geologist, and an artist. His first expedition discovered and explored the Wickham River junction. The second trip was much more extensive, travelling through the headwaters of the Victoria River and discovering the Stuart River. They followed it into the desert far to the south-west, before safely returning to base camp. This trip was effective as they discovered that the land had a tremendous extent of prime grazing area, which would impact settlement in later years.

‘The rushing tide forms whirlpools several yards across…By which we were whirled round and round like a teetotum, being cast forth from one straight into another’ (Old timer 1913)


The Victoria River was a difficult river to negotiate in ships. They were often left stranded on mud and rocks, surrounded by crocodiles. Not only were whirlpools a challenge, but cyclonic weather conditions were also a major problem for sailors.

Suggested activities: Compare these early day explorers with early exploration in your area. How are these expeditions similar and what are the differences? What would be important topics for exploration? Why would it be important to have people from diverse backgrounds on an expedition? What could each contribute and how would that make the project and information gathered more valid?

Feed your children wheat. Joshua.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 9, 2001 8:13 AM.

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