The Full Wiki

Edward John Eyre: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

  • Banksia epica is named after two epic journeys the first by Edward John Eyre in 1841 to cross the Nullarbor and the second by John Falconer in 1986 to collect specimens from the same area?

More interesting facts on Edward John Eyre

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edward John Eyre

In office
Preceded by Charles Henry Darling
Succeeded by Henry Knight Storks

In office
Governor George Grey
Preceded by None, position established
Succeeded by None, position abolished

Born 5 August 1815 (1815-08-05)
United Kingdom Whipsnade, England, UK
Died 30 November 1901 (1901-12-01)
United Kingdom Yorkshire, England, UK
Occupation Explorer of Australia, Colonial Administrator, Grazier

Edward John Eyre (5 August 1815  – 30 November 1901) was an English land explorer of the Australian continent, colonial administrator, and a controversial Governor of Jamaica.

South Australia's Lake Eyre, Eyre Peninsula, Eyre Creek, Eyre Highway (the main highway from South Australia to Western Australia), and the Eyre Hotel in Whyalla are named in his honour, as are the villages of Eyreton and West Eyreton in Canterbury, New Zealand.


Early life

Eyre was born in Whipsnade, Bedfordshire, shortly before his family moved to Hornsea, Yorkshire, where he was christened[1]. His parents were Rev. Anthony William Eyre and Sarah (née Mapleton)[2]. After completing grammar school at Louth and Sedbergh, he moved to Sydney rather than join the army or go to university. He gained experience in the new land by boarding with and forming friendships with prominent gentlemen and became a flock owner when he bought 400 lambs a month before his 18th birthday[3]. When South Australia was founded, Eyre brought 1,000 sheep and 600 cattle overland from Monaro, New South Wales to Adelaide and sold them for a large profit.

South Australian expeditions

Expeditions of Eyre

With this money, Eyre set out to explore the interior of South Australia, with two separate expeditions north to the Flinders Ranges and west to beyond Ceduna.

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 at Rossiter Bay, under the command of Captain Rossiter, chanced to be there. Eyre named the bay after the captain.

In addition to exploring inland South Australia and New South Wales, Eyre was instrumental in maintaining peace between white settlers and Aborigines along the Murray River.

Colonial Governor

From 1848 to 1853, he served as Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster province in New Zealand under Sir George Grey. He married Miss Adelaide Ormond in 1850. She was the daughter of Captain James Ormond, R.N.

From 1854 he was Governor of several Caribbean island colonies.

Colonial Governor in Jamaica

As Governor of the Colony, Eyre, fearful of an island wide uprising, brutally suppressed the Morant Bay Rebellion, and had many black peasants killed. Hundreds were flogged. He also authorised the execution of George William Gordon, a mixed-race colonial assemblyman who was suspected of involvement in the rebellion.

These events created great controversy in Britain, resulting in demands for Eyre to be arrested and tried for murdering Gordon. John Stuart Mill organised the Jamaica Committee, which demanded his prosecution and included some well-known British liberal intellectuals (such as John Bright, Charles Darwin, Frederic Harrison, Thomas Hughes, Thomas Huxley, John Tyndall, and Herbert Spencer). A rival committee was set up by Thomas Carlyle for the defence, arguing that Eyre had acted decisively to restore order. His supporters included John Ruskin, Charles Kingsley, Charles Dickens and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Twice Eyre was charged with murder, but the cases never proceeded.

The case went to the UK Court of Exchequer as Phillips v Eyre (1870) LR 6 QB 1, Exchequer Chamber. The case was influential in setting a precedent in English and Australian law over the conflict of laws, and choice of law to be applied in international torts cases.[4].


In 1970 he was honoured on a postage stamp bearing his portrait issued by Australia Post [1].


  1. ^ Steve Pocock (2000). "History". Great Australian Bight Safaris. Retrieved 2006-04-08. 
  2. ^ Dictionary of Australian Biography
  3. ^ Kevin Koepplinger. "Hero and Tyrant:Edward John Eyre's Legacy". 
  4. ^ G. Dutton, In Search of Edward John Eyre (1982, MacMillan), 115-42; J Michener, Caribbean (1989, Random House), 402-42


  • Geoffrey Dutton, (1967) The hero as murderer : the life of Edward John Eyre, Australian explorer and Governor of Jamaica 1815-1901 Sydney : Collins ; Melbourne : Cheshire, (paperback reprint: Penguin, 1977).
  • Catherine Hall, (2002) Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropoloe in the English Imagination, 1830-1867. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Further reading

  • Dutton, Geoffrey (1982) In search of Edward John Eyre South Melbourne: Macmillan. ISBN 0333338413

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Richard Graves MacDonnell
Lieutenant Governor of St. Vincent
Succeeded by
Anthony Musgrave
Preceded by
Charles Henry Darling
Governor of Jamaica
1862–1864 (acting); 1864–1865
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Knight Storks
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
John Murray
Clarke Medal
Succeeded by
Frederick Manson Bailey

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EYRE, EDWARD JOHN (1815-1901), British colonial governor, the son of a Yorkshire clergyman, was born on the 5th of August 1815. He was intended for the army, but delays having arisen in producing a commission, he went out to New South Wales, where he engaged in the difficult but very necessary undertaking of transporting stock westward to the new colony of South Australia, then in great distress, and where he became magistrate and protector of the aborigines, whose interests he warmly advocated. Already experienced as an Australian traveller, he undertook the most extensive and difficult journeys in the desert country north and west of Adelaide, and after encountering the greatest hardships, proved the possibility of land communication between South and West Australia. In 1845 he returned to England and published the narrative of his travels. In 1846 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of New Zealand, where he served under Sir George Grey. After successively governing St Vincent and Antigua, he was in 1862 appointed acting-governor of Jamaica and in 1864 governor. In October 1865 a negro insurrection broke out and was repressed with laudable vigour, but the unquestionable severity and alleged illegality of Eyre's subsequent proceedings raised a storm at home which induced the government to suspend him and to despatch a special commission of investigation, the effect of whose inquiries, declared by his successor, Sir John Peter Grant, to have been "admirably conducted," was that he should not be reinstated in his office. The government, nevertheless, saw nothing in Eyre's conduct to justify legal proceedings; indictments preferred by amateur prosecutors at home against him and military officers who had acted under his direction, resulted in failure, and he retired upon the pension of a colonial governor. As an °mKl ausgarten ' 'Serpallen 4 Miles explorer Eyre must be classed in the highest rank, but opinions are always likely to differ as to his action in the Jamaica rebellion. He died on the 30th of November Igor.

<< Eyra

Sir James Eyre >>


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address