On this day …….. 27th September 1851
Sir Thomas Mitchell was Surveyor-General of New South Wales and the explorer who discovered “Australia Felix”, or “Happy Australia”, which was the rich land of western Victoria. As well as being well-known for his immense contribution to exploration, Mitchell is less-known for fighting the last known duel in Australia. It was fought between Mitchell and one of New England’s well-known early settlers, Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson. The duel occurred on 27 September 1851 in Centennial Park, Sydney, and it is believed to have been over land – Tenterfield Station – which was a crown grant to Donaldson. As Surveyor-General, Mitchell had gazetted a town to be built on part of Donaldson’s Tenterfield Station. The enraged Donaldson challenged Mitchell to a duel. Three shots were fired, and the last one of Mitchell’s found its mark, blowing Donaldson’s hat off. Donaldson was not injured, and later went on to become the first Premier of New South Wales.