30 December 2011 Burke & Wills Roadhouse

Tue 3 Jan 2012 10:28
19:11.8S 140:21.5E
Burke & Wills’ Roadhouse
We asked the roadhouse people about Burke and Wills’ journey and they didn’t know anything!  However, we found out they had only arrived 3 weeks ago to take a break from their round-Australia oddyssey and look after the roadhouse during the wet, so they can perhaps be forgiven.  We have now met many of our generation doing this trip who find somewhere they like, stop, and get jobs for a few months or years in some cases.
So we looked up Burke and Wills and this was their story.
-  1860 – August – leave Melbourne with 18 men and 20 camels
-  Reach Cooper Creek, build a stockade
-  B & W head north with 2 men, Gray & King, 6 camels, and food, reach Normanton
-  Leave Normanton 11 Feb 1861 (a cairn marks the spot)
-  Wet season slows progress – kill and eat camels
-  Burke beats Gray to death for stealing flour
-  21 April 1861 – arrive Cooper Creek.  Sign on tree says “dig”; support party have left that very morning. B & W dig up food and carry on, but leave no note
-  Rescue party arrives later, assumes B & W were never there, searches in wrong place
-  Only King is finally found alive, Sept 1861
It was John Macdouall Stuart, who we came across in Daly Waters, who survived this trip in 1862, to be followed by the Overland Telegraph Line and the Stuart Highway.
Someone in a 4x4 retraced B & W’s steps in 1952.

JPEG image