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Biographical entry Stuart, John McDouall (1815 - 1866)

7 September 1815
Dysart, Scotland
5 June 1866
Explorer and Surveyor


John Stuart migrated to South Australia in 1839 and soon after joined C. Sturt's expedition to Central Australia in 1844. After working as a surveyor 1846-1858 he led a number of expeditions through the colony and eventually crossed the continent in 1862.


Born Dysart, Scotland, 7 September 1815. Died 5 June 1866. Educated Scottish Naval and Military Academy, Edinburgh. Arrived Australia 1839, joined a surveying party, explored the centre of Australia with Charles Sturt 1844-45, surveyor, then estate agent 1846-58, explored beyond Lake Torrens and Lake Gairdner looking for grazing land 1858, expedition 1859 finding a trail with sufficient water for a permanent route north 1859, expedition to the Davenport Range finding signs of gold 1859, expedition to the Macdonnell Ranges, Tennant Creek, and Central Mount Stuart 1860, expedition to Attack Creek and Sturt's Plain 1861, expedition through the centre of Australia right to the Indian Ocean 1862, returned to Scotland 1864 and later went to London. Gold medal, Royal Geographical Society 1861.

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • John McDouall Stuart - Records, 1848, MS 1185; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • John McDouall Stuart - Records, 1860, PRG 833; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

State Records of South Australia

  • John McDouall Stuart - Records, 1863 - 1865; State Records of South Australia. Details

Published resources


  • Bailey, John, Mr Stuart's Track: the Forgotten Life of Australia's Greatest Explorer, Pan Macmillan Australia, Sydney, 2006, 335 pp. Details
  • Bailey, John, Mr Stuart's Track: the Forgotten Life of Australia's Greatest Explorer, Picador, Sydney, 2007, 335 pp. Details
  • Gee, Philip, 150 Years on: a Look Back at Stuart's Incredible 1858 Explorations, John McDouall Stuart Society, Adelaide, 2008, 12 pp. Details
  • Jones, Philip G., Smoke, Spears and Mirrors: Stuart's Aboriginal Encounters, John McDouall Stuart Memorial Address, Adelaide, 2012, 12 pp. Details
  • Pike, D., John McDouall Stuart, Melbourne, 1958. Details
  • Strehlow, T. G. H., Comments on the Journals of John McDouall Stuart, Adelaide, 1967. Details
  • Threadgill, B., South Australian Land Exploration 1856 to 1880, Adelaide, 1922. Details

Book Sections

  • Morris, Deirdre, 'Stuart, John McDouall (1815-1866), explorer', in Bede Nairn (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 6, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1976, pp. 214-215. Also available at Details
  • Webb, Martyn, 'John McDouall Stuart, 1815-1866', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004. Details

Online Resources

McCarthy, G.J.