The Burke and Wills Expedition – Part 6 – The Return

The Return Journey

In part 6 of our series, Robert Burke and his comrades begin their journey from the northern coast of Australia to the depot at Cooper’s Creek. They are low on supplies and their health is waning. Meanwhile, William Wright struggles to get the needed supplies to depot, where the health of William Brahe and his men is deteriorating.


Maps

Map source: By Rocketfrog at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4173494


People and Places

  • Robert O’Hara Burke – Leader of the Victorian Exploring Expedition (VEE)
  • William Wills – British surveyor and astronomer. 2nd-in-command of the expedition.
  • Victoria Exploring Expedition (VEE) – The official name of the expedition led by Robert Burke to cross the Australian continent.
  • Hermann Beckler – German doctor and botanist.
  • Ludwig Becker – German geologist and naturalist.
  • William Wright – Bushman who joined the VEE at Menindee. Now leading the relief column to Cooper’s Creek.
  • John King – 22-year old ex-soldier. Selected by Burke to be part of the contingent going to the north coast.
  • Thomas McDonough – VEE member who accompanied Burke and Wills to Cooper’s Creek.
  • Charley Gray – VEE member who was selected to go with Burke and Wills to the north coast of Australia.
  • 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.

Select Resources

The following are some good books and links regarding the Burke and Wills Expedition.

The Dig Tree: A True Story of Bravery, Insanity, and the Race to Discover Australia’s Wild Frontier by Sarah Murgatroyd – Excellent book on the expedition.

Burke and Wills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Australia’s Most Famous by Peter FitzSimons – Another well done book on the expedition.

Burke and Wills Digital Archive – Online collection of all the original source material – as well as links to other resources – for the expedition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s