Apr 212012

It’s one of the most heart-rending chapters in Burke and Wills’ ill-fated expedition to cross Australia from south to north.

On 21 April 1861, exhausted by their tumultuous return journey from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Burke, Wills and King staggered into Camp 65 on the banks of Cooper Creek hoping to be re-united with other members of their party led by William Brahe.

With tragic mistiming, Brahe and his hungry party had departed only hours before having waited more than four months for the return of the intrepid explorers. What supplies they could afford to leave were buried under a Coolibah tree carved with the word ‘DIG’.

More misfortune for Burke and Wills followed this fateful day – as Nicholas Hadnutt from the Queensland Museum relates in this lecture:

The Last Days of Burke and Wills
Presented by Nicholas Hadnutt
Queensland Museum

Burke and Wills’ sad demise contrasts so dramatically with their expedition’s grand departure from Royal Park, Melbourne, which is portrayed on the envelope of this 2010 commemorative stamp and coin cover.


Buy now: Burke & Wills Stamp and Coin Cover


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