The Burke and Wills Expedition – Part 3 – Menindee

Sketch by Ludwig Becker of the VEE on the march north.

In part 3 of our series, the Victorian Exploring Expedition travels from Melbourne to the frontier outpost of Menindee on the Darling River. Along the way, the VEE will undergo a transformation as many key members will be fired (or resign), and others will join the company. Meanwhile, Robert Burke must dodge an arrest notice, criticism and his own ego to move the VEE forward.

People and Places

  • Robert O’Hara Burke – Leader of the Victorian Exploring Expedition (VEE)
  • George Landells – Horse trader who brought 25 camels to Australia, and 2nd-in-command of the VEE. Fired upon reaching Menindee.
  • William Wills – British surveyor and astronomer. Named 2nd-in-command of the expedition after the dismissal of George Landells.
  • Victoria Exploring Expedition (VEE) – The official name of the expedition led by Robert Burke to cross the Australian continent.
  • John McDouall Stuart – Scottish explorer who would be the chief competitor with the VEE to blaze a route across Australia.
  • Hermann Beckler – German doctor and botanist. mega at Menindee, but stayed on.
  • Ludwig Becker – German geologist and naturalist.
  • William Wright – Bushman who would join Burke at Menindee as a guide.
  • Georg von Neumayer – Professor and member of the Exploration Committee.
  • John King – 22-year old ex-soldier. Came from India with camels.
  • William Hodgkinson – Journalist who joined expedition at Swan Hill.
  • Cooper’s Creek – River in central Australia. It is about halfway across the continent if someone is traveling between Melbourne and Gulf of Carpentaria in the north. About 750 miles from Melbourne.
  • Menindee – Most northerly outpost on the route of the VEE in their trek across Australia. About 400 miles from Melbourne.
  • Gulf of Carpentaria – The most direct route from Victoria to the northern coast of Australia – roughly a 1500 mile journey across the continent.




The following are a few of the sketches done by Ludwig Becker. They represent the march from Swan Hill to Menindee.

Sketch by Ludwig Becker of the VEE on the march north.

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