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Home > Travelogues > 2010-2017 Travelogues Index > Mid West > Sir Augustus Charles Gregory

Sir Augustus Charles Gregory (1819-1905), explorer and surveyor-general

Coming from England to Western Australia with his family, Gregory's early explorations were within Western Australia, and his successes brought requests from other states.  In his youth, he became a Surveyor, and in 1841 joined the Government Survey Office.
 
A memorial to his surveying trips in the South West of Western Australia can be seen near Dinninup in the Shire of Boyup Brook.  A jarrah tree near the Blackwood River was marked by Gregory in 1845, and the stump remains as a memorial. 
 
 

In 1846 Augustus Gregory commanded his first exploration expedition, with a party including his brothers Francis and Henry, to the north of Perth in search of land suitable for agriculture. Gregory returned with glowing reports of good pastoral land and coal deposits in the mid west coastal region.

 

Gregory's party also made the first discovery of coal in Western Australia, on the Irwin River gorge which is now known as Coalseam Conservation Park, Mingenew. 

 

This was followed in 1848 with further exploration seeking further pastoral land and the mapping of the Gascoyne and Muchison Rivers.  It was on this expedition that Lead ore was first found in the bed of the Murchison River by Pemberton Walcott, a member of Augustus Gregory's party.  

 

These discoveries lead to the opening up of the Mid West, and the resulting establishment of a port and town at Champion Bay, now known as Geraldton. 

In 1854, Gregory was chosen to lead a scientific exploration across the north of Australia.  In what is now the Northern Territory, the party explored the Victoria River and followed Sturts Creek for 300 miles (483 kilometres) to where it disappeared into the Western Australian desert.  The group also explored the Elsey, Roper and Macarthur Rivers. 

 

In Queensland, Gregory named the Leichhardt River, and explored the Flinders, Burdekin, Fitzroy and Burnett Rivers.  Following his exploration, pastoral areas were opened up in the north. 

 

Gregory was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society following this exploration. 

 

1857 Gregory was hired by the government of New South Wales to search for traces of Ludwig Leichhardt, a fellow explorer who had disappeared on an earlier expedition. 

 

In 1848 Leichhardt again set out from the Condamine River to reach the Swan River. The expedition consisted of Leichhardt, four Europeans, two Aboriginal guides, seven horses, 20 mules and 50 bullocks. He was last seen on 3 April 1848 at McPherson's Station, Coogoon, on the Darling Downs. His disappearance after moving inland, although investigated by many, remains a mystery. The expedition had been expected to take two to three years, but after no sign or word was received from Leichhardt it was assumed that he and the others in the party had died. The latest evidence suggests that they may have perished somewhere in the Great Sandy Desert of the Australian interior.[2]

From Wikipedia

 

After finding traces of the lost explorer, Gregory was forced by drought to abandon the search, and travelled south to Adelaide. This was his last major expedition.

Places named after explorer Augustus Gregory include

 

In Western Australia:

 

Port Gregory, on the coast to the west of Northampton

 

Mount Augustus, the largest rock in the southern hemisphere, was named after Augustus Gregory by his brother Francis Gregory.  

 

Lake Gregory (Paraku) is a freshwater lake near the Mulan community in the northern Great Sandy Desert and near the northern end of the Canning Stock Route

 

His explorations in other states resulted in a number of places named after Augustus Gregory, including the Gregory River and town of Gregory in North West Queensland. 


 

Information sourced from Biography, Wikipedia and other media.
Augustus Gregory marked the southern boundary of the new colony of Queensland and in 1859 became its first commissioner for crown lands and surveyor general.

He marked the southern boundary of the new colony of Queensland and in 1859 became its first commissioner for crown lands and surveyor-general.
 
From 1880 to his death in 1905, he served as a councillor of the Shire of Toowong and as an alderman of its successor, the Town of Toowong. He was shire president for 12 years, and town mayor in 1904.
 
On 10 November 1882 Gregory was made a member of the Queensland Legislative Council (a lifetime appointment).
 
Augustus Charles Gregory was knighted in 1903

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