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Francis Cadell


1822 - 1879

Explorer. Born in Cockenzie (East Lothian). He went to Australia looking for gold. In 1852, he had a portable canvas canoe built, which was sealed with tallow, and set off to explore the Murray River in SE Australia, together with its tributaries. Cadell was a pioneer in opening the river to trade through his Murray River Navigation Company. In 1867, he led an expedition to the Northern Territory on behalf of the Australian government with the intention of identifying areas suitable for settlement.

Cadell was involved in whaling, trading and pearling between 1870 and 1879, when his crew mutinied in the Dutch East Indies and killed him. He is remembered by Cadell Strait in Northern Australia and by a settlement on the Murray River. A reconstruction of his canoe can be seen at the Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum (East Lothian).


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