Benjamin Herschel Babbage was a South Australian engineer, surveyor and explorer. In 1858, he stood on Hermit Hill, near Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre (South), and recognised that there was a gap in a mythical horseshoe-shaped Lake Torrens that the explorer Edward John Eyre had conceived sixteen years earlier. Babbage’s discovery was a crucial step in opening northern South Australia to European settlement and paved the way for John McDouall Stuart’s crossing of the continent. Babbage achieved much under arduous conditions, but the Adelaide newspapers accused him of slow progress, and the South Australian Government summarily dismissed him as expedition leader.
‘This is a carefully researched and finely crafted book which will be an important addition to our literature of the European exploration of inland Australia.’ — Colin Harris is a Fellow and Past President of the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia