Captain Charles Sturt is regarded as an icon in the history of Australian exploration.
In 1828 Sturt received permission from Governor Darling 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, two 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 there was difficulty in getting sufficient water.
The courses of the Macquarie, Bogan and Castlereagh rivers had been followed, and though its importance was scarcely sufficiently realized, the Darling River had been discovered. 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 which was assembled, and on 7 January 1830 the eventful voyage down the Murrumbidgee began.
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 the Aborigines but Sturt always succeeded in appeasing them.
Sturt then 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 flowed 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. There they made the disappointing discovery that the mouth of the Murray was a maze of lagoons and sandbars, impassable to shipping.
The party then faced the ordeal of rowing back up the Murray and Murrumbidgee, against the current, in the heat of an Australian summer. Their supplies ran out and when they reached the site of Narrandera in April they were unable to go any further.
Sturt sent two men overland in search of supplies and they returned in time to save the party from starvation, but Sturt went blind for some months and never fully recovered his health.
By the time they arrived back in Sydney they had rowed and sailed nearly 2,900 kilometres of the river system.
The first Sydney Post Office: This photograph was taken a few years before the building was demolished in 1889. (Photos: State Library of NSW)
As the population of the colony grew, so did the volume of incoming mail.
When ships arrived in Sydney Cove they were mobbed by people searching for letters and parcels.
By 1809 there were escalating complaints to the Lieutenant-Governor of fraud, theft and extortion at the docks.
The New South Wales Corps, which had deposed Governor Bligh in 1808, moved to rein in the chaos by appointing an official postmaster.
On 25 April 1809 Isaac Nichols, an emancipated convict, was appointed as Postmaster, a position that authorized him to board ships and receive letters and parcels addressed to people within the colony.
He was ordered to establish an office at his home in George Street, where letters could be picked up and the collection prices would be fixed.
On 26 June 1809 Isaac Nichols boarded the brig Experiment and collected the first bag of mail from Britain.
Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (5 May, 1864 – 27 January, 1922), better known by her pen name Nellie Bly, was an American journalist who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne‘s fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she worked undercover to report on a mental institution from within.
She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism. Bly was also a writer, inventor, and industrialist.
The Washington Post reports that Bly is getting her own statue at Roosevelt Island in New York, where a 23-year-old Bly spent ten days undercover as a patient in the asylum on the island uncovering the mistreatment patients received there.
She truly gave it her all as a reporter: to get into the asylum she practised looking insane in the mirror, trying out different “far-away expressions” because she believed they had a crazy air, and embedding herself into the world she was reporting in ushered in a new kind of undercover journalism.
After quitting and then coming back to journalism, Bly died of pneumonia in 1922.
The organization the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp is currently sponsoring a competition for an artist to create the monument, who will have a budget of $500,000.
The statue will be unveiled in spring 2020.
New York City has recently turned its attention to raising monuments in tribute to marginalized figures who made history as a corrective to a city filled with statues in honour of men (as of 2017 there were 150 of the men, just 5 of women.)