Edward John Eyre, 1815-1901
Edward John Eyre [1815-1901], explorer, emigrated to NSW from England when he was 17. Settling in Adelaide after several pioneering expeditions with sheep and cattle, he made several attempts to find an overland stock route from the city to the west. In January 1840 he learned that a committee was organising an expedition to find a way west, but Eyre persuaded them to change the focus of the expedition to the north, agreeing to pay for half of this bid to 'discover the inland of Australia'. After many gruelling months, one of his party was murdered, and the rest disappeared. Eyre and his Aboriginal colleague, Wylie, eventually reached a place near what is now Esperance, where a French whaling ship replenished their stores. They staggered into Albany on 7 July 1841, more than a year after they had set out. Six years later Eyre was rewarded for the journey with the founder's gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society.