Seven Europeans died during the Victorian Exploring Expedition and one died during the Victorian Relief Expedition. One Aborigine died after being shot by William Wright's suppy party and twelve Aborigines died after being shot by Frederick Walker.
In the history of Australian inland exploration, only Leichhardt's third expedition of 1847 and Kennedy's second expedition to Cape York in 1848 resulted in similar numbers of fatalities amongst explorers, although many expeditions resulted in large numbers of fatalities amongst the indigenous population. Major Thomas Mitchell, Captain Frederick Walker and the Jardine brothers, Frank and Alex were particularly notorious for the large numbers of indigenous fatalities they caused.
The first to die was Charley Gray on Wednesday 17th April 1861, less than eight months after leaving Melbourne and only five months after leaving the settled districts of New South Wales. The last man to die on the expedition was Robert O'Hara Burke, on or about Saturday 1st July 1861.
Expedition deaths, 1861
|Charley Gray||Wednesday, 17 April 1861||Polygonum Swamp (Lake Massacre ?), SA.|
|Charles Stone||Monday, 22 April 1861||Koorliatto Waterhole, Bulloo River, QLD|
|William Purcell||Tuesday, 23 April 1861||Koorliatto Waterhole, Bulloo River, QLD.|
|Mr Shirt||Saturday, 27 April, 1861.||Koorliatto Waterhole, Bulloo River, QLD.|
|Dr Ludwig Becker||Monday, 29 April 1861||Koorliatto Waterhole, Bulloo River, QLD.|
|William Patten||Wednesday, 5 June 1861||Desolation Camp, Rat Point, NSW.|
|William John Wills||30 June - 4 July 1861||Breerily Waterhole, Cooper Creek, SA.|
|Robert O'Hara Burke||Saturday, 1 July 1861||Burke's Waterhole, Cooper Creek, SA.|
|12 Ngawun men||Wednesday, 30 October 1861||Aborigines shot by Frederick Walker.|
|Gunner Frost||Tuesday, 31 December 1861||Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria, QLD.|
For more details of the explorer's graves, follow these links.