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John Lort Stokes

1812 - 1885

John Lort Stokes (1812-1885) was an explorer and hydrographer. He is most famous for his work surveying Australia’s inland and coastal areas on HMS BEAGLE between 1837 and 1843. Stokes discovered and named Victoria River and Port Darwin, after his shipmate Charles Darwin.

After returning to England, Stokes published his accounts and surveys in 1846, titling it Discoveries in Australia; With an Account of the Coast and Rivers Explored and Surveyed during the voyage of HMS BEAGLE, in the years 1837-38-39-40-41-42-43. By Command of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. Also a Narrative of Captain Owen Stanley's Visits to the Islands in the Arafura Sea'. Following the success of his published works, Stokes’ reputation within the Admiralty rose and he was promoted to the rank of Admiral. He retired in 1877 and spent the rest of his days in Pembrokeshire. Stokes died on 11 June 1885.