A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Lloyd Browne
Date: 2019 Feb 17, 01:13 -0800
For Frank Reed
Thanks for your prompt reply, Frank. I did google Oysina Point but didn't use quotation marks (double quotes). Edmunds was a passenger aboard the Beatrice and a good friend of Lt Guy, who wrote the letter about the wreck of the Ingarnia. His friendship with Guy was the main reason he was able to leave the ill-fated Escape Cliffs settlement (on the Cape Hotham peninsula). Guy made a berth for him on the Beatrice, which was the South Australian surveying schooner and which was crewed by a mixture of Royal Navy officers (Howard, Guy, Ninnes) and a civilian crew. A very happy ship. Edmunds was the navigator on the McKinlay (overland) Expedition which was trying to get from the Adelaide River to the Liverpool River in Arnhem Land but due to heavy rain and flooding of the savannahs ended up at the Hairpin Bend on the East Alligator River after eating most of its 40 odd horse plant to survive. I see now that Edmunds was working backwards from the known position of Oysina Point and possibly assisting Guy with the day to day navigation on the voyage to Adelaide - which incidentally was the second circumnavigation of Australia. Edmunds did have a seafaring background before he became a surveyor but it unclear where he learnt his navigation skills. He mentions the wreck of the Ingarnia on Ashmore reef in his diary.
How do I know he was such a good navigator? Because using a combination of Edmunds Latitudes, the topographical descriptions provided by Edmunds and other members of the expedition, and applying them to modern survey maps and then going bush in various 4X4 vehicles I was able to positively locate some five or six of the McKinlay expedition's campsites. I say positively only in those instances where there was corroborating evidence of metallic objects such as horseshoe nails, tent pegs etc. The Northern Territory is unique in that it is still possible to find physical evidence of 19th century exploring expeditions in its more remote places. In each instance the Lats given by Edmunds differed by less than 200 metres from the GPS Co-ordinates of the campsites. In point of fact his lats may have been considerably better than 200 metres because I took the GPS co-ordinates at a location which I assumed was the centre of each encampment. Edmunds may have taken his sights from a different point.
An unexpected bonus from my query is the discovery of one of Guy's christian names. For some reason his full name is never given. He is Lieutenant Guy even in his obituary. He died of TB in 1869. Edmunds survived until 1917. None of which has anything to do with celestial navigation, so perhaps I had better sign off. Once again thank you for your prompt response.
And thank you too Brad Morris for your input.
Regards to you both