On this day ………… 18th February 1874
Explorer Ernest Giles was born on the 7th of July 1835 in England. He emigrated to Australia in 1850 and was employed at various cattle and sheep stations, allowing him to develop good bush skills. Giles made several expeditions into the Australian desert. The first, lasting four months, commenced in August 1872 and resulted in the discovery of an unusual oasis in the desert, the Glen of Palms, now called Palm Valley, as well as Gosse’s Bluff. On this first journey he discovered Lake Amadeus, a huge saltpan in central Australia, which he named after the King of Spain, and he sighted the Olgas, named after the king’s wife. Giles commenced his next expedition in August 1873. On this expedition, he was able to approach closer to the Olgas, but his attempts to continue further west were thwarted by interminable sand, dust, biting ants and lack of water. After a two month recovery period at Fort Mueller, Giles set out north towards the Rawlinson Range, from which he again tried to penetrate westwards. On the 18th February 1874, he was thrown by one of his horses and dragged along, only narrowly escaping being killed.