The painting of John McDouall Stuart's Tree at Chamber's Bay, NT celebrates the first south-north crossing of the Australian continent.
John McDouall Stuart conducted three expeditions to cross the continent from south to north. His third expedition of 1861/62 successfully reached the Indian Ocean in July 1962, having left Adelaide nine months earlier. He recorded his arrival site as Chambers Bay in honour of the Chambers brothers, John and James who financed many of Stuart's expeditions. At this site Stuart selected a tall, large tree in which to raise the Union Jack. Stuart carved his initials in the trunk and in an airtight container, buried artifacts and messages beneath the tree. The tree is believed to be a species of acacia, possibly of the family fabaceae; it was at least fifty feet tall and eight feet around the base and surrounded by dense scrub making it very difficult to locate.
The painting of the tree was completed by Anne Elizabeth King, a sister to Stephen King and future wife of John Billiatt both of whom were members of Stuart's expedition, in 1863. Anne was born in Burra, SA in 1845, one of nine children. She and John Billiatt had five children. The couple left SA with two of their daughters in 1871 for England where she died in 1905 in Devon.