John McDouall Stuart, 1815-1866
Portrait of John Macdouall Stuart. Adelaide, April 1863.
John McDouall Stuart (7 September 1815 – 5 June 1866) was the most accomplished and most famous of all Australia's inland explorers and led the first expedition to traverse the continent from south to north successfully. (Burke and Wills were first to cross the continent but both perished on their return journey.) He achieved this despite poor backing from the South Australian government and the immense funds that were directed to the Burke expedition. His experience and the care he showed for his team ensured he never lost a man, despite the harshness of the country he encountered. The explorations of Stuart eventually resulted in the Adelaide-Darwin telegraph being built and the main route from Port Augusta to Darwin being established, which is now known as the Stuart Highway in his honour.