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Burke and Wills Expedition

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The Doctor

on 1 November 2013

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Transcript of Burke and Wills Expedition

Burke and Wills
The Beginning
The End
The group finally reached Cooper Creek and found that Brahe’s group had left only 9 hours earlier. Burke, Wills and Gray had no chance of catching up to Brahe’s group. As they reached Menindee, William Wright had left no supplies for the men and was blamed for the death of Burke and Wills.
The journey set off at about 4 p.m. on the 20th of August 1860 as they were watched by 15,000 spectators at Royal Park, Melbourne. They took with them 26 camels 23 horses and six wagons with food that would last for 2 years.
The Middle
On 16th December Burke divided the group with only Burke, Wills, John King and Charles Gray reaching the Gulf Of Carpentaria. The rest of the group with William Brahe in command would stay at Cooper Creek for 3 months on Burke’s orders. Wills however was cautious and told Brahe to wait four months.
Burke and Wills Expedition
Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills led an expedition from Melbourne to the south of Gulf of Carpentaria in 1860 and 1861. A distance approximated at 3,250km(2,000miles). Apart from Burke and Wills, 19 other men also intended to travel across Australia. Australia was not colonized by the British until 1788 from the arrival of the First Fleet that arrived at Sydney.
The Exploration Committee made offers for a leader however only 2 men had experience in exploration yet they weren’t chosen. It was Burke who won the ballot and Wills navigator and third in command.
Cattle were taken and slaughtered throughout expeditions. The Committee decided to attempt using dried meat. The decision was made as the cattle requires further care and is excess luggage.
Camels were a great way of transportation in dry biomes and could carry substantial amount of weight. Camels were first imported to Australia in 1850 from countries like India. An astonishing 16 camels were taken in the expedition.
The explorers reached Swan Hill on the 6th September 1860, 332km away from Melbourne. Then Balranald on the 15th of September 1860, which is 91km way from Swan Hill. In two months they reached Menindee on the 12th of October , a stunning 750 kilometres from Melbourne. Burke split the group and appointed William Wright to guide another expedition for supplies.
The South Australia Government offered a reward of $289,000 in July 1859 for the first successful south north crossing of the continent.
The four men ate portulaca, and a Python, presumably black-headed which Gray had caught on the return trip. Burke and Gray obtained a sickness called dysentery, a sickness resulting in diarrhea, which contains blood and mucus in the feces, however Burke thought he was pretending. Gray was caught stealing on the 25th of March and Burke beat him . On 8th of April Gray could not walk by 17th April Gray died of dysentery at Polygonum Swamp and is now called Lake Massacre.
Burke, Wills and King had only two camels left Landa who became bogged in Minkie Waterhole, and Rajah who was shot has he could not walk any further. Burke’s group were aided by the Cooper Creek Aborigines who gave them fish, beans and damper in exchange for sugar. Absurdly, Burke shot one of the Aborigines which lead to the Aborigines fleeing the area. Near the end of June 1861, Wills could walk no further so Burke and King left him food, water and shelter. The next morning Burke died, King stayed with his body for two days where he finds Wills body at Breerily Waterhole. William John Wills dies June 1961 aged 27. Robert O'Hare Burke on 27 of June, 1861.
After the death of Burke and Wills King gets rescued by William Howitt. At the end of November 1861 King returns safely to Melbourne by Edwin Welch and the people welcome him home as a hero. He receives a valuable gold watch and chain. King was never fully recovered from the injuries from the expedition and dies of pulmonary tuberculosis, an infectious disease that deviates the lung, on 15, 1872 aged 33.
Burke and King
William John Wills
Legal original PDF copy
January 5, 1834-June,1861 (27)
Full transcript