There is an impressive monument at Wentworth on the bank of the Murray opposite the confluence of the Darling and Murray rivers. It honours the first overlanders to Adelaide. It reads:
ON MARCH 1st 1838, JOSEPH HAWDON AND CHARLES BONNEY CROSSED THEIR CATTLE AT THIS SPOT ON THEIR DROVING TRIP FROM NEAR ALBURY TO ADELAIDE. TWO MONTHS AFTERWARDS EDWARD JOHN EYRE USED THE SAME ROUTE TO BE FOLLOWED STILL LATER BY CAPTAIN CHARLES STURT, BOTH WITH A HERD OF CATTLE. TO THESE LEADERS AND THEIR MEN WE PAY TRIBUTE AS THE FIRST OF THE “OVERLANDERS”.
The monument faces a broad expanse of water today that could not be forded easily by cattle. That is because a weir has been built.
Of interest, Eyre and Sturt did not follow precisely the same route or cross at that same place, as might be inferred from the wording on the monument, because the height of the river varied month by month. For example, Eyre wrote, “We did not find either the Murray or the Darling River fordable for our stock at the places where Mr Hawdon crossed, both these rivers being, I imagine, considerably higher than they were then.” Sturt wrote, “Instead of crossing above the latter junction, as Mr Hawdon and Mr Eyre had done, I encamped two miles south-west of it and crossed at an angle close to the spot.”
As it happened, all three stock drives forded the Murray at different positions.