Australian Pioneer. Burke And Wills Expedition. Robert O'Hara Burke, a police officer, led an expedition from Melbourne in 1860 with the object of crossing the continent from south to north. William John Wills became second in command.
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Tragedy marked the return journey. Gray died of exhaustion. The other three weakened by severe privations, struggled back to Cooper's Creek only to find that the depot party had left a few hours before their arrival. The party had remained there six weeks longer than they had been ordered to stay.
Robert O’Hara Burke (1821-1861) was one of the first men to cross Australia from south to north. In tragic circumstances in died from starvation on the banks of cooper creek. Burke was born in Ireland. In 1848 he joined the Irish police. After migrating to Australia he become inspector of police in the gold mining areas.
William John Wills was born in Devon, England on the 5th of January 1834. In London Wills studied to become a doctor but gave up his studies and sailed to Australia In 1853. At first wills worked as farm laborers but later Wills worked in his fathers medical practice in Ballarat. When burke asked him to join the expedition Wills job was to be the
Surveyor, meteorologist and astronomer. Wills become 2nd in command of the expedition after Burke dismissed George Landells from that position. Wills was a serious, intelligent and loyal man who did his job well, keeping an accurate record of the expedition and a diary from which much was learned about the fatal journey. Wills died in June 1861.