Sir Alexander Cockburn – Campbell Taylor applied for the first pastoral leases east of Esperance Bay, between Point Malcolm and Point Dempster and became the Dempster brothers’ first distant neighbour. Sir Alexander Cockburn-Campbell Taylor secured 100,000 acres, lease E4. The station at Thomas River was named ‘Lynburn’. Campbell Taylor held existing leasehold on pastoral lands in the Oldfield River and sent flocks of sheep to the new lease at Thomas River, eighty miles east of Esperance.
Andrew and Emily Dempster and their two young sons returned to Esperance via an overland route early in 1870. They were accompanied by his mother- in -law Mrs Clay and several workmen, including Laurence Sinclair and Benjamin Hannett. His shepherd, Benjamin Hannett, had previously been to Esperance station and had worked for many years at Buckland.
Surveyors John and Alexander Forrest and party on their eastbound expedition, arrived at Dempster Homestead. With them was their aboriginal guide Tommy Windich and Billy Noongale, farrier Osborne and policeman McLarty. In May the Forrests’ surveyed a forty acre freehold location around the site where the homestead would be. The supply ship Adur arrived into Esperance Bay with provisions for the Forrests’ expedition to Adelaide.
Alexander and John Forrest
The West Australian 175th Anniversary Souvenir WA’S Defining Moments
Forrest expedition from Perth to Adelaide
In 1870, John Forrest with his younger brother Alexander Forrest retraced the steps of Edward John Eyre by trekking from Perth to Adelaide. The party, including a police trooper and two aboriginal guides, left Perth in March with 14 horses. They headed south-west before hitting the coastline near the present-day township of Esperance, sticking to the coast across the Nullarbor Plain and stopping at Eucla for supplies. From Eucla the expedition reached the head of the Great Australian Bight on July 17 then turned inland to Port Augusta on August 27.
“ON OUR ROUTE WE PASSED OVER MANY MILLIONS OF ACRES OF GRASSY COUNTRY BUT, I AM SORRY TO SAY, I BELIEVE ENTIRELY DESTITUTE OF PERMANENT WATER” John Forrest wrote later ‘‘THE NATIVES MET WITH WERE FRIENDLY BUT TO US ALTOGETHER UNINTELLIGIBLE.”
The party was awarded 200 pounds for the effort, and the trek helped pave the way for a telegraph line linking Western Australia and South Australia.