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Mr Wright's first despatch.

Report of the commissioners appointed to enquire into and report upon the circumstances connected with the sufferings and death of Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills.
Melbourne: John Ferres, Government Printer.
Parliamentary papers, No 97, 1861-2. 1862.

[Received 31st December, 1860.]

Depot Camp, Pamamoroo Creek, Darling River, NSW,
December 19th, 1860.

To the Gentlemen of the Exploration Committee.

Gentlemen,
I have the honor to inform you that, pursuant to a previous understanding with Mr Burke, it was my intention to rejoin that gentleman, with the members of the party and stores at present in this camp.

I delayed starting merely because the camels (9) left behind by Mr Burke were too few in number and too inferior in carrying powers to carry out a really serviceable quantity of provisions. Of horses but seven were left at the depot, and of them four are dead, one just dispatched on urgent business, and the remaining two are too poor to be available.

When Lyons, the trooper, McPherson, saddler to the expedition, and an Aboriginal started some time back with four of our horses to take on despatches brought by Lyons, and represented as urgent, to Mr Burke, I supposed they would overtake that gentleman at a spot some four hundred miles from here, where Mr Burke stated to me his intention of remaining some days, and that they would return with all the horses of the advance party, so as to enable me to get out with the stores at the depot.

I regret, however, to have to inform you that the aboriginal returned to the depot camp yesterday, on foot, greatly exhausted, and that he brought with him a piece of paper, signed by Lyons and McPherson, and imploring immediate assistance to rescue them from imminent starvation.

I have of course lost no time in sending out a small party to relieve them, accompanied by the native who brought to me the intelligence of their sad position.

It must be evident, therefore, to the gentlemen of the Committee, that Mr Burke has not received the despatches ; and that if this season is to be taken advantage of, I can no longer rely upon any horses from the advance party.

As I have every reason to believe that Mr Burke has pushed on from Cooper's Creek, relying upon finding the depot stores at that watercourse upon his return, there is room for the most serious apprehensions as to the safety of himself and party, should he find that he has miscalculated.

In short, it is my duty to point out to the Committee the necessity of the depot stores being at once conveyed to the front.

With the carriage at my disposal it is impossible to effect this, and as I shall require ten horses additional. I feel it requisite to dispatch Mr Hodgkinson, storekeeper to the party, to wait upon you and furnish a detailed statement of affairs.

I estimate the expenditure necessary at £ 250 for ten horses and accoutrements, and I have to request that the Committee, if disposed to sanction the outlay, will be good enough to forward me, by Mr Hodgkinson an authority for purchasing all I may deem absolutely necessary, with full particulars as to my modes of payment, &c.

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,

The Exploration Committee.

 
     
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