Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 4 In the 1800s, European explorers including Edward John Eyre, John McDouall Stuart and Major Warburton struck out across this landscape, searching for productive lands and water. The 1860 expedition of Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills from Melbourne to northern Australia remains the most notorious. Their deaths, on Cooper Creek (Fig. 1.4), were a lesson in both the harshness of these deserts and also European arrogance in the dismissal of life-saving Indigenous knowledge. Burke and Wills’s party survived by eating spore cases of the ubiquitous floodplain fern, nardoo, but neglected to Fig. 1.1. The Lake Eyre Basin, its major rivers and wetlands and key towns in central Australia. Left inset shows the Lake Eyre Basin while the right inset shows the Great Artesian Basin. Major floodplains (hatched), include Goyders Lagoon (GL), while major lakes (filled) include Coongie Lakes (CL), Lake Blanche (LBL), Lake Buchanan (LB), Lake Callabonna (LC), Lake Dunn (LD), Lake Frome (LF), Lake Galilee (LGA), Lake Hope (LH), Lake Gregory (LG), Lake Machattie (LM) and Lake Yamma Yamma (LY).
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