Description : 'They have left here today!' he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.' MELBOURNE, 20 AUGUST 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O'Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26 camels. Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people. In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition's depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale. Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in Australia's history - and their story remains immediate and compelling.
Description : This book challenges the common assumption that little or nothing of scientific value was achieved during the Burke and Wills expedition. The Royal Society of Victoria initiated the Victorian Exploring Expedition as a serious scientific exploration of hitherto unexplored regions of inland and northern Australia. Members of the expedition were issued with detailed instructions on scientific measurements and observations to be carried out, covering about a dozen areas of science. The tragic ending of the expedition meant that most of the results of the scientific investigations were not reported or published. Burke and Wills: The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition rectifies this historic omission. It includes the original instructions as well as numerous paintings and drawings, documents the actual science undertaken as recorded in notebooks and diaries, and analyses the outcomes. It reveals for the first time the true extent and limits of the scientific achievements of both the Burke and Wills expedition and the various relief expeditions which followed. Importantly, this new book has led to a re-appraisal of the shortcomings and the successes of the journey. It will be a compelling read for all those interested in the history of exploration, science and natural history, as well as Australian history and heritage.
Description : The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills is the first major study of Aboriginal associations with the Burke and Wills expedition of 1860–61. A main theme of the book is the contrast between the skills, perceptions and knowledge of the Indigenous people and those of the new arrivals, and the extent to which this affected the outcome of the expedition. The book offers a reinterpretation of the literature surrounding Burke and Wills, using official correspondence, expedition journals and diaries, visual art, and archaeological and linguistic research – and then complements this with references to Aboriginal oral histories and social memory. It highlights the interaction of expedition members with Aboriginal people and their subsequent contribution to Aboriginal studies. The book also considers contemporary and multi-disciplinary critiques that the expedition members were, on the whole, deficient in bush craft, especially in light of the expedition’s failure to use Aboriginal guides in any systematic way. Generously illustrated with historical photographs and line drawings, The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills is an important resource for Indigenous people, Burke and Wills history enthusiasts and the wider community. This book is the outcome of an Australian Research Council project.
Description : In 1860 Robert O'Hara Burke led a cavalcade out of Melbourne. Accompanied by William Wills, he was prepared to risk everything to be the first European to cross the Australian continent. Sarah Murgatroyd reveals new historical and scientific evidence to tell the story, with all its heroism and romance, its discoveries and lost opportunities.
Description : Brief factual information about the Australia explorers Burke and Wills, and their ill-fated expedition to cross Australia in 1860-1861. Suggested level: primary, intermediate.
Description : Describes the 1860 expedition led by Roland Burke and William Wills to explore inland Australia and to find an overland route for the telegraph line.