Burke & Wills Web
www.burkeandwills.net.au
The online digital research archive of expedition records
© 2017

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.

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www.burkeandwills.net.au Burke & Wills Web The digital research archive of expedition records
© 2017, Dave Phoenix