Edward John Eyre Sculptures
Edward John Eyre, born in England in 1815, is remembered as the first man to cross this continent from Sydney to the Swan River. He was the first man to record his exploration of the three sides of the peninsula named in his honour. Lake Eyre and the Eyre Highway are also named in recognition of his skill, perseverance and courage as an explorer.
In 1838 he led an expedition from Streaky Bay. Passing through sandy terrain and scrubby vegetation, Eyre reached the Gawler Ranges where he identified Sturt’s Pea. Water had been scarce and Eyre was glad to find a good supply at Baxter’s Range, near Iron Knob. The expedition ended at Depot Creek, near Mt Arden.
In 1840 this trek was reversed by Eyre’s overseer, John Baxter. Recent rain had ensured adequate water and the party was able to follow the tracks made by their wagons the previous year. Meanwhile Eyre explored the eastern side of the peninsula. It was very hard for the horses to penetrate the dense vegetation. Feed was scarce and water more so. About 45kms east of where you are standing, Eyre found good grass and a spring of water. He was so relieved that he named the place Refuge Rocks, “for such they were to us in our difficulties”. At Port Lincoln, Eyre arranged for supplies to be shipped from Adelaide.
In 1841 Eyre left Port Lincoln and headed North West to Streaky Bay where he met John Baxter. Arrangements were made to ship supplies to Fowler’s Bay and the party set out for W.A. Poor feed and shortage of water so weakened the horses that they were not able to carry all the provisions wanted by the men.
Eyre was determined to explore beyond the Head of the Bight and was very aware of the difficulties ahead. At Fowler’s Bay he sent non-essential supplies and four men back to Adelaide by ship. It was at this stage that Wylie joined the expedition. He was from King George’s Sound and had accompanied Eyre on previous trips. Lack of water, scarcity of feed, difficult terrain and extremes of weather all combined to make this trek along the coast so arduous that men and horses perished. Fortunately for Eyre and Wylie, a whaling ship was anchored at Rossiter’s Bay and the two survivors were able to recuperate sufficiently to finish the trek to Albany.
Erected in November 2011, these stunning figures are an artistic tribute to Edward John Eyre and the indigenous men on whose bush skills he so often relied.
Sculpted by Roland Weight and Marcus Possingham, commissioned by the District Council of Kimba Tourism Committee and funded by the District Council of Kimba and a Tourism Development Grant.