Charles Sturt (1795-1869) was a British soldier, sent to New South Wales in charge of convicts in 1826. In 1827 Governor Darling appointed him to lead the first of two expeditions into the interior, in search of pastoral land for settlement and a navigable river system. Sturt's two-volume account of his journeys, published in 1833, begins with a description of the colony. Volume 1 focuses on the expedition of 1828-9, when Sturt and a small party travelled on horseback down the Macquarie River until it turned into marshes. Skirting the unhealthy swamps, they eventually discovered and named the Darling River, but were forced to turn back due to drought and a lack of fresh water, as the Darling was salt. Sturt describes the topgraphy, vegetation and wildlife, as well as his encounters with groups of Aborigines concerned for the party's welfare despite their own harsh living conditions.