Burke & Wills Web
The online digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020

and welcome to BURKE & WILLS WEB
the digital research archive of expedition records.

The Burke and Wills Expedition was originally called the Victorian Exploring Expedition and its aim was to cross the continent of Australia from Melbourne on the south coast to the north coast, which at the time was uninhabited by the migaloo (white-fella). No one had done this before, and to the Victorian colonists the centre of the continent was unknown, unmapped and unexplored.

The expedition was organised by the Royal Society of Victoria and it became the first to cross the continent. Three men traveled 5,000 kilometres from Melbourne to the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria and then back to the Depot Camp at Cooper Creek. Seven men died in the attempt, including the leader, Robert O'Hara Burke and the third in command William John Wills. Only one of the four men who reached the north coast, John King, survived to return to Melbourne.

Burke and Wills Web - realising Macadam's dream ...

Honorary Secretary of the Exploration Committee, Dr. John Macadam, compiled the records of the Expedition and wrote to the Chief Secretary of Victoria asking for assistance in making the records available to the public:

Burke & Wills Web www.burkeandwills.net.au

Macadam's wishes were not fulfilled. Many of the records were lost and the surviving ones have become overshadowed by the huge amount of popular literature that has been published. Now, 158 years after the expedition, Burke & Wills Web is the realisation of that dream. This website is an historic research resource which provides digital access to the primary archive sources, that 'accumulated mass of valuable geographical information' that Macadam referred to.

Following Burke & Wills across Australia: A touring guide

by Dave Phoenix (CSIRO Publishing, 2015) Click HERE to buy your copy

Every Australian has heard of Burke and Wills but few have travelled in their footsteps. In 2008, historian Dave Phoenix walked across Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria, following the track taken by the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition. Now you can follow them too.

'Following Burke and Wills Across Australia' guides you on a road trip that follows one of history’s great transcontinental journeys, sharing the explorers’ experiences on the way. Maps lay out a route that takes you as close as possible to the Expedition’s track. As you travel the outback roads, you can learn all the details of the day to day journey of the Expedition from the explorers’ own words, and compare what you see with their descriptions of the country in 1860–1. Each chapter provides information about what to see now: the location and descriptions of the markers and memorials placed along the route over the 150 years since the Expedition, and places where you can stand where the explorers stood and look out over prospects they drew and described.

Following Burke and Wills Across Australia

Burke & Wills Web: Terms of Use

Your use of this website is subject to the following terms and conditions: Content on this webspace is licensed under the terms of an 'Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike' Creative_Commons_4.0_International_License. The content on this website is not 'Public Domain' or 'Free Cultural Work', so if you wish to reproduce any content on this website you must abide by the CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0-INT license conditions. Please read the Disclaimer and Privacy statements before proceeding, as well as the Statement on Aboriginal culture. There are details about the website creator, Dave_Phoenix, and there is a Help_Page with links which might assist you find your way around.



Burke & Wills Web
The digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020, Dave Phoenix