Robert Dale

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For other uses, see Robert Dale (disambiguation).

Lieutenant Robert Dale [1] (1812–20 July 18531) was the first European explorer to cross the Darling Range in Western Australia.

Robert Dale was born in England in October 1812. Through the influence of his great uncle General William Dyott, he was appointed as an ensign to the British Army's 63rd Regiment of Foot, shortly before it was posted to the new Swan River Colony in Western Australia. On arrival at the colony, he was seconded as an assistant to Surveyor General John Septimus Roe, whose Survey Department was suffering under an extreme workload. Dale spent four years with the Survey Department, surveying, clearing roads and exploring. He was the first European to cross the Darling Range, where he discovered the fertile Avon Valley and helped establish the towns of Northam, Toodyay,[2] and York. He was also the first European to see and describe the numbat.

Dale was promoted to Lieutenant in 1832, but the following year he resigned his military career and returned to England. He took with him the head of Yagan, an Indigenous Australian of the Noongar nation who had been killed by a young settler. Dale settled in Liverpool, joining his family in the timber trade. He later became involved in promoting the use of the Western Australian timber jarrah. He died of tuberculosis in Bath on 20 July 1853.

A significant hill on the ground to the south of Mundaring Weir was named Mount Dale after him. The Dale River a tributary of the Avon River was also named after him.

A portion of Panoramic View of King George's Sound, Part of the Colony of Swan River, based on sketches by Robert Dale and published in 1834.

The Panoramic View of King George's Sound, Part of the Colony of Swan River, a hand-coloured print by Robert Havell, is based on sketches by Robert Dale.[3]


  1. ^ Also found as Ensign Dale in some accounts
  2. ^ "Foundation.". The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 31 May 1939. p. 18 Edition: CITY FINAL. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Dale, Robert (1834). Descriptive Account of the Panoramic View &c. of King George's Sound and the Adjacent Country. London: J. Cross and R. Havell. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Cook, Karen Severud (2003). "The Secret Agenda of Western Australian Explorer, Robert Dale (1809–1853)". The Globe (54): 23–34.