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Biographical entry McKinlay, John (1819 - 1872)

16 August 1819
Sandbank, Argyll, Scotland
17 January 1872
South Australia, Australia


John McKinlay was sent by the South Australian Government to help find the lost expedition party of Burke and Wills (16 August 1861). He and his party discovered the grave of one of the explorers, Charlie Gray. After learning of the fate of the rest of the party, McKinlay's team set off north. They were extremely lucky to survive the trip supplies ran out almost two months before they arrived on the Queensland coast in August 1862. This trip made McKinlay and his team only the second party to have successfully crossed Australia from south to north. In 1865 McKinlay was sent on an expedition to discover settlement sites in the southern and central Australia.



Taxonomy event - Collector of a syntype of Eucalyptus foelscheana F.Muell.

Archival resources

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • John McKinlay - Records, 1861 - 1866, PRG 834; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Davis, J., Tracks of McKinlay and Party Across Australia (London: 1863). Details
  • Threadgill, B., South Australian Land Exploration 1856 to 1880 (Adelaide: 1922). Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Harlow, Susan, 'John McKinlay: his significance as a Northern Territory explorer', Journal of Northern Territory History, 3 (1992), 55-65. Details


See also

  • Hall, Norman, Botanists of the Eucalypts: short biographies of people who have named eucalypts, whose names have been given to species or who have collected type material (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1978), 101 pp. Details

McCarthy, G.J.