|Birth Day:||April 28, 1795|
|Death Date:||16 June 1869(1869-06-16) (aged 74)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
|Birth Place:||Bengal, British|
As per our current Database, Charles Sturt died on 16 June 1869(1869-06-16) (aged 74)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.
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Charles Sturt was born in Bengal, British India, the eldest son (of thirteen children) of Thomas Lenox Napier Sturt, a judge under the British East India Company, and his wife. At the age of five, Charles was sent to live with relatives in England to be educated, as was customary for the children of the colonial upper class. After attending a preparatory school, he was sent to Harrow in 1810.
In 1812, Charles went to read with a Mr Preston near Cambridge, but his father was not wealthy and had difficulty finding the money to send him to Cambridge University, or to establish him in a profession. An aunt appealed to the Prince Regent and, on 9 September 1813, Sturt was gazetted as an ensign with the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot in the British Army.
Sturt saw action with the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War and against the Americans in Canada during the War of 1812. He returned to Europe a few days after the Battle of Waterloo. Sturt was gazetted lieutenant on 7 April 1823 and promoted captain on 15 December 1825. With a detachment from his regiment, Sturt escorted convicts aboard the Mariner to New South Wales, arriving in Sydney on 23 May 1827.
Sturt received approval from Governor Darling on 4 November 1828 to explore the area of the Macquarie River in western New South Wales. It was not, however, until 10 November that the party started out. It consisted of Sturt, his servant Joseph Harris, three soldiers and eight convicts; on 27 November Sturt was joined by Hamilton Hume as his first assistant. Hume's experience proved to be very useful. A week was spent at Wellington Valley breaking in oxen and horses, and on 7 December the real start into comparatively little known country was made. 1828–29 was a period of drought and the party had difficulty in finding sufficient water. They had followed the courses of the Macquarie, Bogan and Castlereagh rivers and, though its importance was scarcely sufficiently realized, had visited the Darling River. The party returned to Wellington Valley on 21 April 1829. The expedition proved that northern New South Wales was not an inland sea, but deepened the mystery of where the western-flowing rivers of New South Wales went.
In 1829 Governor Darling approved an expedition to solve this mystery. Sturt proposed to travel down the Murrumbidgee River, whose upper reaches had been seen by the Hume and Hovell expedition. In place of Hume, who was unable to join the party, George Macleay went "as a companion rather than as an assistant". A whaleboat built in sections was carried with them; it was assembled, and on 7 January 1830 they began their eventful voyage down the Murrumbidgee. In January 1830 Sturt's party reached the confluence of the Murrumbidgee and a much larger river, which Sturt named the Murray River. It was in fact the same river which Hume and Hovell had crossed further upstream and named the Hume. Several times the party was in danger from Aborigines but Sturt always succeeded in propitiating them.
Sturt proceeded down the Murray, until he reached the river's confluence with the Darling. Sturt had now proved that all the western-flowing rivers eventually flow into the Murray. In February 1830, the party reached a large lake, which Sturt called Lake Alexandrina. A few days later, they reached the sea, later named as the Southern Ocean. There they made the disappointing discovery that the mouth of the Murray was a maze of lagoons and sandbars, impassable to shipping.
Dowling, Peter (2017), "What Charles Sturt saw in 1830 – Syphilis beyond the colonial boundaries?", Health and History, 19: 44–59; doi:10.5401/healthhist.19.1.0044.
Sturt briefly served as Commander on Norfolk Island, where mutiny was brewing among the convicts. Because of his ill health, he went to England in 1832 on sick leave, arriving there almost completely blind. In 1833 he published his Two Expeditions into the Interior of Southern Australia during the years 1828, 1829, 1830 and 1831, of which a second edition appeared in 1834. For the first time the public in England realised the importance of Sturt's work. Governor Darling's somewhat tardy but appreciative dispatch of 14 April 1831, and his request for Sturt's promotion, had had no result. Sir Richard Bourke, who had succeeded Darling, was also unsuccessful in persuading Viscount Goderich to give "this deserving officer your Lordship's protection and support". Though the colonial office did not seem to recognise the value of Sturt's work, publication of his book was important because it captured the attention of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who read it. He chose South Australia for a new settlement then being contemplated by the government. In May 1834, based on his services, Sturt applied for a grant of land in Australia, intending to settle on it.
In July instructions were given that he was to receive a grant of 5,000 acres (2,000 ha); in exchange, Sturt agreed to give up his pension rights. On 20 September 1834, Sturt married Charlotte Christiana Greene, daughter of a longtime family friend. Soon afterward, the couple sailed for Australia.
Sturt returned to Australia in mid-1835 to begin farming on his own 20 square kilometres (4,900 acres) of land, granted to him by the New South Wales government on the lower reaches of Ginninderra Creek, near present-day Canberra. (Sturt named the property 'Belconnen', a name now applied to the nearby population centre.) In 1838 he, with Giles Strangways, a Mr McLeod, and Captain John Finnis, herded cattle overland from Sydney to Adelaide, on the way proving that the Hume and the Murray were the same river.
In September 1838, Sturt led an expedition to the mouth of the Murray, which settled all dispute as to the suitability of Adelaide for the colony's capital. After returning to NSW to settle his affairs, Sturt settled at what is now Grange, South Australia in early 1839; he was appointed Surveyor General of South Australia and a member of the South Australian Legislative Council. When the London-appointed Surveyor-General Edward Frome unexpectedly arrived, Sturt had to step down.
In the meantime, in December 1839, Sturt and his wife accompanied George Gawler, Julia Gawler, Henry Bryan and Henry Inman on a Murray River expedition, visiting Mount Bryan. Julia Gawler, Charlotte Sturt, and Charlotte's maidservant became the first white women to travel the Murray.
In September 1841, Sturt chaired a Bench of Magistrates that conducted an official inquiry into the circumstances of the Rufus River massacre. The inquiry concluded "that the conduct of Mr Moorhouse and his party was justifiable, and indeed unavoidable in their circumstances".
Sturt believed that it was his destiny to discover a great salt water lake, known as 'the inland sea', in the middle of Australia. At very least, he wanted to be the first explorer to plant his foot in 'the centre' of Australia. In August 1844, he set out with a party of 15 men, 200 sheep, six drays, and a boat to explore north-western New South Wales and to advance into central Australia. They travelled along the Murray and Darling rivers before passing the future site of Broken Hill. They were stranded for months by the extreme summer conditions near the present site of Milparinka.
Early in 1847 Sturt went to England on leave. He arrived in October and was presented with the Royal Geographical Society's gold medal. He prepared his Narrative of an Expedition into Central Australia for publication; however, it was not published until early in 1849. Throughout this time he was suffering again with poor eyesight.
Sturt returned to Adelaide with his family, arriving in August 1849. He was immediately appointed Colonial Secretary with a seat in the legislative council. There was no lack of work in the ensuing years. Roads were constructed, and navigation on the Murray was encouraged. However Sturt had renewed trouble with his eyes, which limited his ability to perform these duties. On 30 December 1851 he resigned both positions and was given a pension of £600 a year. He settled on 200 hectares (490 acres) of land close to Adelaide and the sea. But the gold discoveries had increased the cost of living there. On 19 March 1853 Sturt and his family sailed for England. Sturt lived at Cheltenham and devoted himself to the education of his children.
In 1855 Sturt applied unsuccessfully for the positions of Governor of Victoria and in 1858 for Governor of Queensland. Sturt's age, uncertain health, and comparatively small income were against him. By 1860 Sturt's three sons were all serving in the army. The remainder of his family went to live at Dinan to economize after the expenses of education and fitting out. But they found the town to be unhealthy and in 1863 returned to Cheltenham. In 1864 Sturt suffered a great grief in the death of one of his sons in India.
In March 1869 Sturt attended the inaugural dinner of the Colonial Society, at which Lord Granville mentioned that it was the intention of the government to extend the Order of St Michael and St George to the colonies. Sturt allowed himself to be persuaded by his friends to apply for a knighthood (KCMG), but afterwards regretted he had done so, when he heard there were innumerable applications.
Sturt's health had been very variable and on 16 June 1869 he died suddenly. He was survived by his widow, two sons, Colonel Napier George Sturt, R.E. and Major-General Charles Sheppey Sturt, and daughter Charlotte. Mrs Sturt was granted a civil list pension of £80 a year, and the queen granted her the title of Lady Sturt, as if her husband's nomination to a knighthood of the order of St Michael and St George had been gazetted. Reproductions of portraits of Sturt by Crossland and Koberwein were published in his biography, called Life, written by his daughter-in-law, Mrs N. G. Sturt. These suggest the charm and refinement of Sturt's character.
Currently, Charles Sturt is 226 years, 8 months and 22 days old. Charles Sturt will celebrate 227th birthday on a Thursday 28th of April 2022.
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