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Robert O’Hara Burke

In their own words

Robert O'Hara Burke
Audio: 2 minutes

April the 22nd. Depot Number Two, Cooper Creek, Camp Number 65. The returned party from Carpentaria consisting of myself, Wills and King (Grey dead) arrived here last night and found that the depot party had only started on the same day. We proceed on slowly down the creek towards Adelaide by Mount Hopeless and shall endeavour to follow Gregory’s track but we are very weak. The two camels are done up and we shall not be able to travel faster than four or five miles a day. Grey died on the road from exhaustion and hunger. The provisions left here will, I think, restore our strength.

We have discovered a practicable route to Carpentaria, the chief portion of which lies on the 140th meridian of east longitude. There is some good country between this and the stony desert. From there to the Tropic, the country is dry and stony between the Tropic and Carpentaria. A considerable portion is rangy but it is well watered and richly grassed. We reached the shores of Carpentaria on the 11th of February 1861.

Greatly disappointed at finding the party here gone.

The camels cannot travel and we cannot walk or we should follow the other party. We shall move very slowly down the creek.

June the 26th. I hope we shall be done justice by. We fulfilled our task but we were not followed up as I expected and the Depot party abandoned their post.

King has behaved nobly and I hope he will be properly cared for. And he goes up the creek in accordance with my request.

Acknowledgements

Burke, Robert O’Hara (1861) Robert O’Hara Burke’s Notebooks, 1861, State Library of Victoria

Attribution

Voiced by Christopher Baldock

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Robert O'Hara Burke

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The importance of being bearded

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2012

Joanna Gilmour discovers that the beards of the ill-fated explorers Burke and Wills were as epic as their expedition to traverse Australia from south to north.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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