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Australian Explorers

Wednesday, August 14, 1861. :   William Landsborough organises a relief expedition to find missing explorers Burke and Wills.

     Robert O'Hara Burke and William Wills set off from Melbourne in 1860 with a huge party of men, supplies and camels, aiming to be the first to cross Australia's interior from south to north and back again. Only one of the party survived the entire trek: John King, who was tended to by the Aborigines of the Cooper Creek area.

A number of expeditions were attempted in order to rescue Burke and Wills when their fate was still unknown. The first of these was led by Alfred Howitt, leaving from Melbourne; the second left from Adelaide under the leadership of William McKinlay; a third set out from Rockhampton, under Frederick Walker. Howitt's expedition determined the untimely fate of Burke and Wills, but his report did not reach the major town centres before the other expeditions set out. William Landsborough, born in 1825, led the fourth expedition to find Burke and Wills. He departed from Brisbane on 14 August 1861, and in the course of his search, became the first recorded explorer to cross the continent from north to south, although the official honours for the first successful crossing south to north and back again (alive) went to South Australian explorer John McDouall Stuart. It is notable that McKinlay's journals of his relief expedition also suggest he crossed the continent but he, too, remains uncredited.


Today in History

Thought For Today
When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive, but stupid people spout nonsense.
Proverbs 15:2 (c) GNB
It is a pleasure to sit and listen to a person who knows what they are talking about. How annoying it is to listen to an idiot prattle.

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