Last changed 15 December 2009
1891 Hemphill letterWith thanks to RG Kimber (October 1982 and December 2009).
The Adelaide Observer Saturday, April 4, 1891. Page 27, column 1.
"CENTRAL AUSTRALIAN EXPLORATION
TO THE EDITOR
-- I am glad to notice from the telegraphic advices received from
Adelaide that the Central Australian exploring party will shortly start
from near the Peake, taking a westerly direction midway between
Forrest's tracks in 1874 and Giles's in 1875, and also exploring between
Giles's track in 1876 and Warburton's in 1873. This will be
really useful work, and I feel sure that all colonists will wish the
party every success. We are also told that the party will
'explore' the country between Tennant's Creek on the Overland Telegraph
Line in the Northern Territory and the Western Australian
boundary. I hardly think this is necessary. Camels are
certainly not necessary unless to add to the pomp and dignity of the
cavalcade, for the simple reason that if the party strike out west from
Tennant's Creek, hit the different springs in the spinifex (they can
generally be found by the native smokes), and keep a bit to the north
of west when nearing the Western Australian boundary they will
'discover' Mr. Nathaniel Buchanan's Wave Hill Cattle Station, on
Sturt's Creek, as pretty Mitchell grass country as ever the eyes of man
looked on — you have nothing like it about Adelaide. At Wave Hill
Station they will meet the Manager, my old friend, Sam Johnson, better
known as 'Greenhide Sam' — as thorough a bushman as can be found in
the whole of Australia. Some of the Wave Hill cattle strayed
across to the Tomkinson Creek (a little north of Tennant's Creek) when
I was on the Powell's Creek cattle station, and Sam came across
mustering with two black-boys and a few spare horses — no camels; how
he would smile at the idea! Sam took the cattle back to Wave Hill with
others mustered at Corella Downs, Eva Downs, Anthony Lagoon, Buchanan
Downs, and Newcastle Waters, without even a compass over country that
that king of Australian explorers, the late John McDouall Stuart,
described as waterless. The whole secret was that Sam had
blackboys who could show him the different waters without hesitation.
In conclusion I wish the Central Australian Exploring Party every
success, but I hope they will avoid 'discovering' country as well known
to some of the stockmen on as the various Northern Territory cattle
stations as your own Strathalbyn district is to the good folk of
Adelaide. — I am Sir, &c.
North-road, Elsternwick, Victoria, March 28."
ReferencesJohn Dymock’s historical compilation (seen July
1991) lists the Hemphill brothers as having droved cattle across the
Gulf area in 1884-5. ('Cornerstones to the Northern Territory's
Pastoral History', A resource document prepared for The National Trust
of Australia (N.T.) 1991)
Central Australian exploring party was the Elder Scientific Exploration
Expedition under David Lindsay which left the railway at Warrina, south
of Oodnadatta, on 2 May 1891 [source].
Sam Johnson may well have been the same person as Sam Croker: see
details of Sam Croker's 1886 traverses.
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Created 28 November 2009
Modified 16 December 2009