“Overland from Portland to Darwin in 1872" by Ethel M. Tiegs
With our present day methods of transport a trip into Central Australia is fast becoming an everyday event.
In this article I have written an account of an early and little known attempt, apparently the first ever taken, to use the transcontinental route foe(r) economic purposes.
The journey was made in 1872. My father, William David Hamilton, a lad of fifteen at the time, accompanied it, and is I believe the only living member of that expedition.
The following is the story of the journey as far as his memory can recall it after 60 years. [written in 1932]
In 1872, on the eve of my departure to boarding school, I received a reluctant consent from my father [Francis ‘Frank’ Hamilton, 1838-1883] to join his brother, Thomas Gibson Hamilton, on a droving trip through Central Australia. The object of the journey was to search for suitable pastoral lands on which to establish further Cattle Stations.
Unknown to my mother I quickly linked up with the party which was ready to start from the family homestead Bringalbert station near Edenhope. This was 100 miles from my parents’ station at Sinclair, 21 miles north of Portland.
We had with us a station hand [William ‘Bill’ Kealy a long-term employee at Bringalbert], 120 horses and three dogs. As far as Alice Springs with us travelled another station owner, Mr Hassell [William Hassall of ‘Wootong Vale’] of Coleraine, who took with him two men. He also was seeking new grazing areas.