Stuart of Bute Places
Stuart of Bute People
John MacDonald Stuart (1815-66)
When Fife-born Stuart came upon his fiancée and best friend kissing, he boarded the first available ship to Australia. With his training as a civil engineer the gained employment as a draughtsman for Charles Sturt, the explorer.
By 1858 he was making his own expeditions with exceptional abilities in speed, endurance, medicine, botany and astronomy. With £2000.95 offered as the prize for charting a route across the centre of Australia suitable for the proposed Overland Telegraph, Stuart became the first man to reach the centre of the continent.
It took him five attempts, however, before he made it successful from the South coast to the North on 25 July 1862. The return trip southward cost him his health and a year after returning to London he died. The Overland Telegraph was completed in 1872, using his route from Darwin to Adelaide.