The first explorer to venture deep into the barren heart of Australia was an Englishman, Charles Sturt. He was an army captain when, in 1826, he was sent to new South Wales with a shipload of convicts. He became military secretary to the governor, but his real interest lay in leading expeditions into the interior, during which he discovered and named the Darling and Murray Rivers. In 1844, he set out with fifteen men in an attempt to reach an island sea which he believed, mistakenly, lay at the center of the continent. He fought against terrible hardships but was defeated at last by the impassable stony desert which now bears his name.
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