LINDSAY, David (1856-1922)


LINDSAY, David (1856-1922)
explorer
son of Captain John Scott Lindsay formerly of Dundee, Scotland, was born at Goolwa, South Australia, on 20 June 1856. He entered the state government survey department in 1872, and was gazetted as a senior surveyor in March 1875. In 1878 he was appointed surveyor-general for the Northern Territory. In 1882 he resigned from the government service to take up private practice, but about a year later was placed in charge of a government expedition to the Northern Territory. The party, consisting of four white men and two blacks, fell in with hostile aborigines who attacked them and were only driven off by the use of fire-arms. Some of the horses had been stampeded during the conflict and the explorers only reached civilization after suffering many privations. Lindsay subsequently explored territory between the overland telegraph line and the Queensland border and discovered a payable mica field. In 1886 he was exploring in the region of the MacDonnell Ranges and discovered so-called rubies. Early in 1891 he was placed in charge of the Elder scientific exploring expedition entirely equipped by Sir Thomas Elder (q.v.). Starting from Warrina, South Australia, on 2 May 1891 with the intention of covering as much unexplored territory as possible between there and the western coast of Australia, the expedition was unfortunate in striking an extremely dry season, the results were disappointing, and the expedition was abandoned without completing much that had been intended. However, in the 11 months to 4 April 1892 over 4000 miles were traversed, and about 80,000 square miles were mapped. Charges were made by the second officer and three other members of the party concerning Lindsay's management of the expedition, but after an inquiry had been held he was exonerated. In 1895 Lindsay was in business as a stockbroker, formed various companies in connexion with Western Australian mines, and not long before war broke out in 1914 was in London raising capital for development work in the Northern Territory. This work and other projects had to be abandoned on account of the war. After the war Lindsay was in the Northern Territory for three and a half years carrying out topographical surveys for the federal government. Some good pastoral land was discovered, and Lindsay satisfied himself that the Queensland artesian water system extended some 150 miles farther west than its supposed limits. He was working in the north again in 1922 but was attacked by illness and died in the Darwin hospital of heart disease on 17 December 1922. He married Annie T. S. Lindsay who survive him with four sons and a daughter. Lindsay was tall and broad-shouldered of a genial disposition, a typical and capable bushman.
The Register and The Advertiser, Adelaide, 19 December 1922; The Times, 19 December 1922; Journal of the Elder Scientific Exploring Expedition, 1891-2.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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