MRS. GETHING TO LEAVE B.H.
MRS. GETHING is leaving Broken Hill after 20 years'
residence, and during that time few have known of the link between her and the romantic story of early Australian exploration.
John McDouall Stuart stands out as one of the most attractive figures in Australian history, an explorer of great daring and courage. Yet his journeys were made almost entirely without Government support, and were made possible by the generosity of a great-minded settler James Chambers, the grandfather of Mrs. Gething, who, before her marriage, was Katherine Chambers.
James Chambers came to South Australia in the Coromandel and was one of the first to settle in that State. Taking up land, he was most success- ful as a squatter.
Picture Australia towards the end of the 50's of last century. A certain amount of exploration had been done but none had as yet crossed the vast island continent from south to north. Tales of the terrible interior abounded to check the enthusiasm of the bravest of the explorers. Victoria was bestirring itself and its effort was to culminate in the tragic Burke and Wills expedition, but South Aus- tralia, the State to which the cross- ing of the continent would be of most value, had neither the finance nor the inclination to aid exploration.
John McDouall Stuart had migrated to South Australia in 1838. After being temporarily employed in the Government Survey Office, he en- gaged in sheep farming. He accom- panied Sturt on his earlier explora- tions and thus became fired with eagerness to undertake further journeys.
With financial aid from James Chambers and W. Finke, Stuart launched out in 1860 on a definite attempt to cross the continent. He reached Central Mt. Sturt (changed by Governor McDonnell to Central Mt. Stuart) and here hoisted a flag made by Miss Elizabeth Chambers. Hostile tribes and the wildness of the country forced him to return south.
Undaunted, Stuart set out again in December, 1861, and again the finan- cial backing came from Mr. Cham- bers; in conjunction with the Govern- ment. Past Newcastle Waters, Daly Waters, Strangways, the Roper, and on to Chambers Bay, just east of the
mouth of the Adelaide - the first man to cross the continent and return.
Mrs. Gething bears the family name "Katherine," commemorated in Katherine Creek. Other relics are Chambers Pillar and Finke Creek. Stuart and his party rode out from the Chambers home on Montefiore Hill, North Adelaide, where now stands the residence of Sir Langdon Bonython. The same stone wall and gates still remain, and recently a memorial tablet was erected there.
The Old Pioneers' Association was
formed during the Centenary (1937),
comprising relatives of early settlers.
Mrs. Gething is proud of her member- ship badge, and when in Adelaide will be able to attend meetings of the association as does her sister, Miss Chambers. The latter will take a house at Henley Beach with Mrs. Gething.
Three wonderful walking sticks are among Mrs. Gething's treasures. These were brought back by Stuart from the Northern Territory and given to Mr. Chambers. The work of the blacks, these are remarkable examples of native art. The carvings are delicate and intricate, stamping the aboriginal as a master craftsman in his own sphere. One stick is of finest bamboo, and another is a splen- did representation of a wriggling snake.
As a child Mrs. Gething lived at Wattaburrie, Port Elliot, and blacks' corroborees were frequent sights around the old home.
A cushion which Mrs. Gething's father picked up during his travels
abroad excited little comment until a doctor espied it and began to "read" the design. These proved to be Arabic characters, and so a fragment of ancient craft has come into the possession of a granddaughter of the man whose generosity helped to open up this great new land.