This paper presents the first complete design to apply compressive sampling theory to sensor data gathering for largescale wireless sensor networks. The successful scheme developed in this research is expected to offer fresh frame of mind for research in both compressive sampling applications and large-scale wireless sensor networks. We consider the scenario in which a large number of sensor nodes are densely deployed and sensor readings are spatially correlated. The proposed compressive data gathering is able to reduce global scale communication cost without introducing intensive computation or complicated transmission control. The load balancing characteristic is capable of extending the lifetime of the entire sensor network as well as individual sensors. Furthermore, the proposed scheme can cope with abnormal sensor readings gracefully. We also carry out the analysis of the network capacity of the proposed compressive data gathering and validate the analysis through ns-2 simulations. More importantly, this novel compressive data gathering has been tested on real sensor data and the results show the efficiency and robustness of the proposed scheme.