mandalas - menindee to flinders ranges
mandala images from trip to menindee and flinders ranges in april 2011.

Mandalas – Menindee to the Flinders Ranges is inspired by the expeditions of Edward John Eyre.

After settlement of Australia by white Europeans in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, white explorers were perceived as the aliens, intruding upon a long-standing habitation of most areas of Australia by aboriginal peoples. Some of these explorers played a crucial role in trying to reconcile indigenous inhabitants of the country with the new settlements, but in many cases disastrous misunderstandings between the cultures caused conflict and terrible bloodshed. Edward John Eyre, in addition to exploring inland South Australia and New South Wales, was instrumental in maintaining peace between white settlers and Aborigines along the Murray River. Below is a brief history and some extracts from the Preface to his major work on his explorations.

Following successful overland driving expeditions along the Murray River to Adelaide, Edward John Eyre, aged 23, set out to explore the Flinders' Ranges region. Together with a group of five men, two drays and ten horses, he left from Adelaide on 1 May 1839. The party set up a depot near Mount Arden, and from there travelled north to the coastal plain west of the Flinders Ranges, exploring the surrounding region and upper Spencer Gulf, before heading eastward to the Murray River and returning to Adelaide. In 1941 Eyre led another expedition across country back to the head of Spencer Gulf and their old campsite at Depot Creek, discovering and naming the Gawler Ranges on the way. this time he travelled further north alone, going about 80 km farther than Mount Eyre, reaching a peak a little south-west of modern-day Leigh Creek.

Eyre, together with his Aboriginal companion Wylie, was the first European to traverse the coastline of the Great Australian Bight and the Nullarbor Plain by land in 1840-1841, on an almost 2000 mile trip to Albany, Western Australia. He had originally led the expedition with John Baxter and three aborigines. Two of the aborigines killed Baxter and left with most of the supplies, and Eyre and Wylie were only able to survive because they were rescued by a French whaling ship which chanced to be there. Eyre named the place Rossiter Bay, after the captain of the ship.

(Adapted from Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flinders_Ranges and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyre's_1839_expeditions)
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