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Robert O'Hara BURKE (1821-1861)

William John WILLS (1834-1861)


Read ebooks by William Wills
Read John McKinlay's account of his expedition to find Burke and Wills
Read William Landsborough's account of his expedition to find Burke and Wills
Read Frederick WALKER'S account of his expedition to find Burke and Wills


Visit the Burke and Wills Web Site

(An account of William Brahe's part in the expedition will be found in Burke's entry in the Dictionary of Australian Biography, above.)

Robert O'Hara Burke, a police officer, led an expedition from Melbourne in 1860 with the object of crossing the continent from south to north. W. J. Wills became second in command.

These courageous explorers, accompanied by two members of the expedition, King and Gray, made a dash for the Gulf of Carpentaria from a depot they had established at Cooper's Creek in Queensland.

Burke and Wills proceeded ahead of the others and succeeded in reaching the estuary of the Flinders River on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Tragedy marked the return journey. Gray died of exhaustion. The other three, weakened by severe privations, struggled back to Cooper's Creek only to find that the depot party had left a few hours before their arrival. The party had remained there six weeks longer than they had been ordered to stay.

Burke and Wills died of starvation. King was cared for by friendly natives until a relief party rescued him.


Updated 26 Apr 06