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1861

Original minute books of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria are held at:
State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071; Boxes 2075/1, 2075/2, 207/3, 2088B/1.
Mostly bound volumes, manuscript, handwritten in ink.
Some missing, some incomplete, and many generally not in chronological order.

Heales Ministry to 14 November 1861.

Argus, Friday, 25 January 1861, p. 4.
We are happy to understand that Captain Standish was in a position yesterday to communicate to the Royal Society, through Dr Macadam, the safe arrival at Menindie, though in a very exhausted condition, of Mounted-trooper Lyons, who was lost in the bush while attempting to carry the despatches of the Society to Mr Burke, and for whose rescue Dr Beckler had been sent forward, with a small party, on camels and horses, from the party under Mr Wright. Captain Standish had received no information as to whether Lyons's companion, the saddler of the party, had also been recovered; but there can be little doubt that both of the men are safe in the camp on the Darling.

Tuesday, 5 February 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee held at the hall of the Royal Society of Victoria.
Present: Wilkie (chair), Neumayer, Selwyn, Elliott, Eades, Gilbee and Macadam.

Macadam had received despatches that day, including one despatch from Wright. Macadam laid on the table meteorological tables compiled by Dr Beckler and pen and ink sketches by Dr Becker. He then read a despatch from Mr Wright and Dr Beckler's diary detailing the journey to Torowoto to rescue Lyons and McPherson, followed by an account of Lyons and McPherson's trip as told to W O Hodgkinson.

The notes of Mr Wills were ordered to be reduced under the superintendence of Professor Neumayer and a sum not exceeding £30 was ordered to be expended for that purpose.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 101. Minutes of the EC meeting, 5 February 1861, signed by McCoy.

SLV MS13071, Box 2082/5c, Notes on plants by Hermann Beckler.

• Remarks on plants collected on a journey from the Darling River Depot to Duroodoo Swamp,
24 December 1860 - 3 January 1861. 9p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2083/2d, Becker's meteorological observations.

• Meteorological observations made eight miles east of Menindie, River Darling junction with Pamamaroo Creek, 6 November 1860-13 January 1861. 1 bound book, 69p.

Friday, 15 February 1861.
Ordinary meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: McCoy (chair), Eades, Iffla, Gilbee and Macadam.

Business: To hear a statement from Alexander McPherson.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 102. Minutes of the EC meeting, 15 February 1861, signed by Neumayer.

Friday, 8 March 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to the Chief Secretary [Heales] dated 8 March 1861.

Letter from Neumayer to Dr Wills in response to a letter from Wills expressing anxiety over Burke's fate (Successful Exploration, Chapter 11):

In March 1861, I began, in the absence of all intelligence, to feel some apprehension for my son's safety, and the result of the expedition. On the 8th, Professor Neumayer, in reply to a letter from me, said:

You have asked me about the Exploring Expedition, and it is really a difficult matter to give a definite answer to the question. I think that by this time the party must have reached the Gulf of Carpentaria, supposing them to have proceeded in that direction. In fact, I think they may have recrossed already a great part of the desert country, if everything went on smoothly after leaving Cooper's Creek. I have a thorough confidence in Mr Wills's character and energy, and I am sure they will never fail.

I cannot help regretting that the Committee should not have understood the force of my arguments, when I advised them to send the expedition towards the north-west. This would very likely have forwarded the task considerably. My feeling is not very strong as to the results we may expect from the present attempt. Indeed, as far as science and practical advantages are concerned, I look upon the whole as a mistake.

Mr Wills is entirely alone; he has no one to assist him in his zeal, and take a part of his onerous duties from him. Had he been put in a position to make valuable magnetic observations, he would have earned the thanks of the scientific world. But, under existing circumstances, he can do nothing at all for the advancement of this particular branch. However, I hope future expeditions will afford him an opportunity to fill up that deficiency, if he should now be successful.

The affair with Landells was nothing more nor less than what I expected and was quite prepared to hear. The man was not more qualified for the task he undertook than he would have been for any scientific position in the expedition.

I am confident Mr Wills is all right, and that Mr Burke and he will agree well together.

[Neumayer]

Easter Sunday, 31 March 1861.

Monday, 8 April 1861.
Ordinary meeting of the Royal Society of Victoria.

The first meeting of the year of the Royal Society of Victoria took place when the President, Sir Henry Barkly gave a conversazione to the members and the ladies of their families. There was a very full attendance, and the hall of the society was only just adequate to the accommodation of the company.

The proceedings of the evening commenced by His Excellency the President delivering his inaugural address;

.....But it is to the preparations for exploring the interior of Australia that the time and energy of a large number of the members of this Society, who were nominated a Committee for the purpose, at a meeting of the subscribers the the Exploration funds, have been chiefly devoted during the past year. When I delivered my last inaugural address the arrangements connected with the proposed expedition, including the most important of all - the appointment of a leader - remained to be made. With a single exception, the aspirants to this post of difficulty and danger could boast little personal acquaintance with Australian exploration, they still had their spurs to win. The choice of the Committee fell on a gentleman of whom I will only on this occasion say, that he has done as yet nothing to discredit the confidence reposed in him, and that if courage, disinterestedness, and a firm determination to succeed in crossing the desert, despite all obstacles, were amongst the foremost qualifications for leadership, no better selection could have been made.

Before Mr Burke was well out of the settled districts, rumours reached us of that extraordinary journey of Mr Stuart's from the adjacent colony, which if it has not altogether solved the problem of Australian geography, has at any rate obliged the most learned geographers of the day to confess themselves mistaken in assuming the whole of the interior to be either an arid and inhospitable desert or a vast central lake.

To the veteran South Australian explorer it still remains to complete his track from Chamber's Creek to the westward of Lake Torrens, to Stokes's Victoria River on the north coast, or to Arnhem's Land, and we are all aware that he started from the spot on the first day of the present year with a larger party and ampler equipment, bent on still claiming the honour of being the first to cross the continent.

As regard the Victorian competitor - I will not call him rival, in this glorious race - Mr Burke - we might long since have looked to hear of his arrival at he pre-concerted Depôt on Cooper's Creek, and of his departure thence to skirt the eastern border of the desert, as the shortest route to the Gulf of Carpentaria, but for the delay which occurred in the transmission o the second portion of his stores from the Darling, which probably deterred him from sending back a messenger with the news of his movements. We know that the rest of the party with these stores left the camp on that river on the 24th January, so that we may soon expect to receive intelligence of their junction, or the course Mr Burke had adopted in their absence. It is certainly possible that he may have pushed on towards the northern coast without awaiting their arrival, but, as he was fully aware that no arrangement was in contemplation for sending a vessel to meet him there, he is not likely to have gone beyond the point from which, with the aid of camels, he could fall back on his supplies; and therefore, no ground for anxiety as to his safety, though of course, we must be prepared to act promptly, according to the tenor of the first advices which may reach us.

Wednesday, 17 April 1861.
Argus, pp. 4-5.

It is now eight months since the Victorian Exploring Expedition started from Melbourne, and it is not too early to inquire whether we can be of any further assistance to it. We have first to consider what is the probable position of Mr Burke and his men at the present moment - where on the map of Australia we are to look for him. The main portion of the exploring party started from Menindie on the 19th of October; and they would, according to the calculations of their comrades, reach Cooper's Creek by the beginning of November. We may take this calculation as correct, for the several stages of the journey have been traced up for a considerable distance, and it is certain, that Mr Burke made no delay. We may, therefore, assume that he left Cooper's Creek very early in November.

Our chief difficulty is to ascertain what direction he took. The Exploration Committee of the Royal Society has been by no means communicative as to the instructions by which the leader of the expedition was to be guided, but we believe that Mr Burke was left to act entirely on his own discretion on arriving at Cooper's Creek. Thus he would have to decide between two routes - from Cooper's Creek to the Gulf of Carpentaria; or from Cooper's Creek to the west coast.

If he selected the latter route, we may reasonably expect that he would follow as much of the former as would bring him to the centre of the continent, and thence bear down on the west coast. He had not learned that Mr Stuart had reached the centre, and, therefore, it would still be one of his chief objects. We may form a tolerably near estimate of the period at which Mr Burke would reach the centre of the continent. Mr Stuart, starting from Chambers's Creek on the 2nd of March, reached the centre on the 22nd of April. The journey, therefore, required 51 days of steady travelling. Cooper's Creek is somewhat more in advance than Chambers's Creek, but we know that the country beyond it is more difficult. We may, therefore, assume that this route would require about an equal period of time. Thus Mr Burke, starting from Cooper's Creek early in November, would arrive at the centre about the beginning of the new year. Mr Stuart's diary may guide us still further. If Mr Burke, on reaching the centre, determined to proceed on to the Gulf of Carpentaria, we may, supposing his rate of travelling to be nearly the same, calculate the probable period at which he would reach it. Mr Stuart started from Central Mount Stuart on the 2nd of May, and was repulsed by the natives when he had advanced to the 19th degree of latitude, on the 26th of June. Had he been able to proceed on, he would have struck the north coast in about a week. The delays caused to Mr Stuart by the natives we may not be justified in assuming to have happened to a party so much stronger as that of Mr Burke; but the difficulties of the country we may suppose to have retarded both parties pretty nearly alike. It would take Mr Stuart about two months to travel from Central Mount Stuart to tho north, coast. If Mr Burke made a similar delay at the centre, he would have reached the north coast about the middle of last month or, if we suppose that his equipments enabled him to travel faster, about the beginning of last month.

If, on the other hand, Mr Burke had decided on striking across from the centre to the west coast, his journey would be double as long, and he could hardly be expected to reach it before the latter end of the present month. In either case, his position would be pretty similar.

We know that the whole of the north and west coasts are overlooked by fierce and warlike tribes of natives. Dr Leichhardt and Mr Stuart both suffered from them on the north coast. Grey was twice repulsed by them on the west coast, and, in the first encounter, nearly lost his life. Whether it is that a more fruitful soil makes them bolder and stronger, of which there is every appearance on the north-west coast, it is at least certain that they look upon all strangers as enemies, and resort to every expedient of ambush and cunning to exterminate them. If we suppose Mr Burke to be able to penetrate this belt he will still be hemmed in between it and the sea.

From this position he should certainly be relieved, but the chief difficulty is to know on which coast to look for him. This, we think, might be ascertained at Cooper's Creek. If Mr Wright did not arrive there in time to see Mr Burke before he started, it is more than probable that a letter was left there for him, giving him instruction, and telling him what course Mr Burke meant to pursue. It is scarcely sufficient to wait until the information is forwarded to us from Cooper's Creek. Mr Wright's party, we know, was very small, and it is impossible to say what further reduction it may have met with. Besides, Mr Burke may have left notice that if he did not return by a certain time, it should be understood that he was proceeding across the continent. In such case, Mr Wright may have delayed in sending us intelligence which might enable us to act at the proper period. No time, therefore, should be lost in despatching a messenger to reach Mr Wright, and to obtain all the information which he can give. The route to Cooper's Creek is pretty well marked now by horse, camel, and cart tracks, and may be safely followed. If a messenger has already been despatched thence, no great harm will be done, as he will be pretty certain to keep on the beaten track, and will be met by the messenger from Melbourne; and, in any case, it is best to be on the safe side. If we can thus ascertain what route Mr Burke had determined on, we do not see that the Victoria could be better engaged than in proceeding to that part of the coast. She will be no more expensive there than in Hobson's Bay, and we are not likely to have any other need of her services for some time. Mr Burke may be able to find his way back if he reaches the coast. Leichhardt was able to do so on his first journey to Port Essington; but in his second journey he did not succeed in doing so, and there is every reason to believe that he had passed through the difficulties of the interior, both from remains which were found on the west coast and from the fact that his cattle have not returned. We therefore think that it is not too early to take vigorous steps in the matter.

Monday, 22 April 1861.
Ordinary meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Neumayer (chair), Wilkie, Iffla and Macadam.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 103. Minutes of the EC meeting, 22 April 1861.

Argus, p. 5.
Our Exploring Party
Letter to the editor from William Lockhart Morton suggesting that Burke was already at the Gulf, or lost, and that a vessel should be sent to the north coast.

Tuesday, 23 April 1861.
Argus, p. 5.
Burke's Probable Route
Letter to the editor from Georg Neumayer explaining that Burke intended to head to the Albert River.

Wednesday, 24 April 1861.
Argus, p. 5.
Burke's Probable Route
Letter to the editor from Morton in response to Neumayer's letter, suggesting Neumayer's assertion that Burke was not expecting a vessel at the north coast was unsatisfactory and asking the Exploration Committee to make further inquiries into Burke's actions.
Burke's Probable Route
Letter to the editor from Thomas Embling in response to Neumayer's letter, suggesting that Burke may have heard of Stuart's return and be heading to Blunder Bay. He thought nothing should be done until news of Burke's route was known.
Exploring Expedition
Letter to the editor from J.S. of Bendigo (Dr Stuart?), suggesting that Burke would now be out of rations and calling for more rations to be sent and a vessel be despatched to the north coast.

Monday, 29 April 1861.
Argus, p. 6.
Burke's Probable Route
Letter to the editor from Morton in response to Embling's letter suggesting that Burke could not make Blunder Bay at that time of year and reasserting his belief that Burke would have gone to the Gulf.

Monday, 27 May 1861.
Argus, Tuesday, 28 May 1861, page 5.

An Ordinary Meeting of the Royal Society of Victoria was held at their hall with Professor McCoy in the chair.

New plants presented by Dr Mueller
Dr Mueller exhibited some plants collected by Dr Beckler, the botanist to the exploring expedition, in the vicinity of the Darling, during the great journey performed by him whilst in search of Macpherson and Lyons. Much of the botanical resources of that district of the country had been previously ascertained by other explorers. Mr Docker and Mr Hopwood had both contributed many specimens. At the same time, Dr Beckler had forwarded several new species. Among other specimens was one of the Marsiliaceae [nardoo], a small plant, on the berries of which, when beaten into cakes, Lyons and Macpherson subsisted during a portion of the time they were separated from the main exploring party. Dr Mueller stated that at some future time he would enter at length into a description of the various specimens.

Tuesday, 11 June 1861.
Legislative Assembly

Stores for the Exploring Expedition
Robert Frederick Howard (1824? - 17 February 1905), MLA for Sandhurst, gave notice that he would, on the following day, ask the Hon Chief Secretary for returns of stores taken from Menindie by Mr Burke; and also those taken by Mr Wright for Mr Burke's further supply.

Exploring Camels' Shoes
Mr Embling gave notice that, on Thursday next, he would ask the Hon Chief Secretary, how many sets of camels' shoes had been supplied to Mr Burke, and if they were recommended by Mr Landells as absolutely necessary to the expedition?

Thursday, 13 June 1861.
Ordinary meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Ligar (chair), Wilkie, Iffla, Watson, Neumayer, Eades and Macadam.

Business: To consider the propriety of forwarding supplies to the exploring party. A sub-committee comprising of Wilkie, Neumayer and Ligar, was nominated to arrange supplies to be forwarded to the expedition.

Further business was postponed and the meeting adjourned to 4.30 pm on 17 June.

Some conversation took place at the recent meeting of the Exploration Committee. Dr Wills, of Ballarat, father of Mr Wills, second in command with Mr Burke, was present, and offered to accompany the party. Professor Neumayer suggested a gentleman named Walsh, from his own office, as suitable for the enterprise; and Dr Embling, it is rumoured, supports Mr Landells as a fit person for the post of leader. We have nothing to say for or against the two former suggestions, but this last demands notice. We consider that Mr Landells has already shown himself singularly unfitted to fill a post of this kind. But we hear it said that Dr Embling holds the contrary opinion, and is using what influence he can to urge the same upon the Committee, and that it is some way in connexion with this matter that he is so anxious in his inquiries about the camels' shoes.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 105. Minutes of the EC meeting, 13 June 1861, signed by Stawell.

Friday, 15 June 1861.
The Legislative Assembly.

Alexander John Smith (20 December 1812 - 7 September 1872), MLA for Castlemaine, gave notice that, on Tuesday next, he would ask the Chief Secretary if the Government had taken any steps to procure intelligence of Mr Burke's expedition, and if any assistance had been provided for that expedition on its homeward route?

Mr Embling might be permitted to say that a meeting of the Exploration Committee, with reference to that subject, had taken place on the previous day.

The Speaker ruled further remarks out of order.

Monday, 17 June 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Stawell (chair), Wilkie, Elliott, Selwyn, Ligar, Eades, Gilbee, Neumayer, Embling, MacKenna, Mueller and Macadam.

Business: To decide the leadership of the expedition to go in search of Burke. It was decided that the leadership should be offered to A W Howitt. The party is to consist of the leader, two men and a surveyor and sixteen horses. They were expected to leave on Saturday next and proceed to Menindie where they will obtain all requisite stores.

The Heales Ministry announced they would send the H.M.c.s.s. Victoria to the Gulf if requested by the Exploration Committee.

Further business was postponed and the meeting adjourned to 3.00 pm on 18 June.

A meeting of the Exploration Committee was held yesterday. It was agreed that the leadership of the party to go in search of Mr Burke should be offered to Mr A W Howitt, the gentleman who was entrusted with the charge of the No. 2 Government prospecting party in Gipps Land. Mr Howitt, from his long experiences exploring Warburton's country, ¡s considered inherently qualified for fulfilling the responsibilities just offered to him. He will take with him two men and a surveyor appointed by the Exploration Committee. It is arranged that they shall proceed to Menindie, where they will obtain all the requisite stores, and proceed from there with all possible speed to Cooper's Creek. The party will be allowed sixteen horses, and are expected to leave town on Saturday next.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 106. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 17 June 1861, signed by Stawell

Tuesday, 18 June 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee, held at 3.00 pm.
Present: Stawell (chair), Mueller, Gilbee and Neumayer.

Business: To confer with Mr Howitt respecting outfit, stores &c. The meeting adjourned to 3.30 pm on 21 June.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 107. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 18 June 1861, signed by Stawell.

Friday, 21 June 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Stawell (chair), Hodgkinson, Mueller, Iffla, Selwyn, Elliott, Embling, Eades, Neumayer, Wilkie and Gilbee.

Business: To receive the report of the sub-committee relating to arrangements for Mr Howitt's departure. Mueller read the report and letter of instructions to Howitt. Wilkie and Mueller were requested to draw up a draft of despatches to be sent to Burke. The remainder of business was postponed and the meeting adjourned to 4.00 pm on the 24 June.

On Wednesday next, Mr A Howitt's small party will set out for Cooper's Creek, on an expedition in connexion with the Exploring Expedition. The party will number four members: Mr Howitt, Mr Aitken (who accompanied Mr Howitt on his prospecting examination of Gippsland, and is a valuable addition to the party), Mr Walsh (surveyor), and Mr Vinning (who has had large experience, both in Australia and India, in travel and the management of horses).

Mr Howitt first proceeds to the Darling, and will complete his preparations at Menindie. He will take with him sixteen horses and supplies, and from Menindie will proceed to Cooper's Creek. From that point his movements will be determined by circumstances. If he does not find Mr Wright there, he will probably discover some instructions upon which he can act, or some members of Mr Wright's small command in possession of the intentions of that officer, and of the route taken by him and probable position of Mr Burke's main party. Mr Howitt takes with him six carrier pigeons, given to him by Mr Christie of the Railway Department, whose liberality in this matter is highly commendable. It will of course be very difficult to carry these pigeons so long a journey, the greater portion of which must be made by the party on horse back, but Mr Howitt will give every care to the birds, and if he succeeds in conveying them to Cooper's Creek, will despatch them from time to time with news of the party. By this means the public anxiety may be set at rest at a very much earlier date than otherwise would be possible. We trust the party will be entirely successful, though small, it is composed of capable men, and will be ably and intelligently led by Mr Howitt.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 108. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 21 June 1861, signed by Stawell.

Monday, 24 June 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Stawell (chair), Elliott, Gilbee, Selwyn, McCoy, Mueller, Neumayer, Watson, Embling, Eades, Wilkie and Macadam.

Despatches prepared for Burke that would be delivered by Howitt. Howitt to leave on Wednesday afternoon on the coach to Swan Hill. Any letter for Mr Burke and members of the party would be taken in charge of Mr Howitt if delivered to the hall of the Royal Society before 1.00 pm on Wednesday. A sub-committee, consisting of Wilkie, Mueller, McCoy and Neumayer, was formed to investigate the probable expenses incurred in sending the SS Victoria to the north coast. The remainder of business was postponed and the meeting adjourned to 1.00 pm on the 26 June.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Dispatches sent to Burke by the RSV EC, Box 2082/2c (1-2):
Dispatches sent to Burke, dated Melbourne 24 June 1861. 12p.

• 2082/2c (1) Letter to Burke from Macadam dated 24 June 1861 with copy of Howitt’s instructions. 12p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Instructions to Howitt dated 24 June 1861.
• Letter to Burke dated 24 June 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 109. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 24 June 1861, signed by Stawell.

Dispatches sent to Burke, 24 June 1861.

Letter to Burke from [A Smith?] on Department of Railways headed paper, 4p.
Newspaper clippings from the Geelong Advertiser sent by Macadam describing the return of Ferguson to Melbourne.
Letter from Macadam to Burke, dated 24 June 1861, 4p.
Copy of instructions given to Howitt by the Exploration Committee, 8p.

On Wednesday next, Mr A Howitt's small party will leave set out for Cooper's Creek, on their mission in connection with the Exploring Expedition. The party will number four members: Mr Howitt, Mr Aitken (who accompanied Howittt on his prospecting examination of Gippsland, and is a valuable addition to the party), Mr Walsh (surveyor), and Mr Vinning (who has had large experience, both in Australia and India, in travel and the management of horses).

Mr Howitt first proceeds to the Darling, and will complete his preparations at Menindie. He has with him sixteen horses and supplies, and from Menindie will proceed to Cooper's Creek. From that point his movements will be determined by circumstances. If he does not find Mr Wright there, he will probably discover some instructions upon which he can act, or some members of Mr Wright's small command in possession of the intentions of that officer, and of the route taken by and probable position of Mr Burke's main party. Mr Howitt takes with him six carrier-pigeons, given to him hy Mr Christie of the Railway Department, whose liberality in this matter is highly commendable. It will of course be very difficult to carry these pigeons so long a journey, the greater portion of which must be made by the party on horse back, but Mr Howitt will give every care to the birds, and if he succeeds in conveying them to Cooper's Creek, will despatch them from time to time with news of the party. By this means, the anxiety may be set at rest at a very much earlier date than otherwise would be possible. We trust the party will be entirely successful. Though small, it is composed of capable men, and will be ably and intelligently led by Mr Howitt.

Wednesday, 26 June 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee held at the Royal Society hall.
Present: Stawell (chair), Mueller, Selwyn, Wilkie, Gilbee, Eades, Neumayer, Watson and Macadam. Dr Wills and Mr Howitt were also present.

Business: To take leave of the Contingent Party.

Mr Howitt, the leader of the contingent, and his party signed the agreement between them and the society; after which, a copy of instructions was given to Mr Howitt, and also a letter to Mr Burke, should they meet. Mr Howitt also bears with him a copy of the instructions given to Mr Burke, and a second copy of his own instructions to give to that gentleman; so that every precaution has been taken to avoid any misunderstanding. The names of Mr Howitt's companions are - Edwin James Welch, the surveyor, a young man who has had considerable bush experience; Alexander Aitken, who proved himself most valuable to Mr Howitt when in Gipps Land; and William Vining, who has had great experience in travelling in India.

His Honour the Chief Justice expressed his satisfaction at the choice of companions made by Mr Howitt, and the opinion generally is one of confidence in the little band, who have now started on their perilous expedition. Mr Howitt spoke in the highest terms of the outfit provided. Each man will be well armed with revolvers and guns, and will be supplied with 100 cartridges. It may be said that everything has been done that ¡s necessary, and the party leave Melbourne with that conviction.

Mr Howitt took leave of the Committee yesterday, but no demonstration was made - a circumstance in accordance with the wishes of all parties. A heavy 'mail' for Cooper's Creek, Menindie, Mount Stuart, the Gulf of Carpentaria, &c., was entrusted to Mr Howitt's charge. The party left last evening by the quarter to six o'clock train to Sandhurst. They will proceed with as little delay as possible to Swan Hill, where they will remain for about a week, after which they will start on the main journey.

A large number of Mr Howitt's friends met at the Spencer-street station last evening, to wish him 'God speed.'

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 110. Minutes of the EC meeting, 26 June 1861, signed by Mueller.

Saturday, 29 June 1861.
Informal meeting of the Exploration Committee, held at 1.00 pm.
Present: Stawell, Wilkie, Embling and Neumayer.
No business was transacted and a meeting was called for 3.00 pm on Thursday, 4 July. However a telegram was received from Howitt from Durham Ox, and an extraordinary meeting was called for Sunday.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 110. Minutes of the informal meeting, 29 June 1861.

Sandhurst, June 29th.

I met Mr Brahe at the Loddon, with despatches, and received the following message:—

Mr Wright has reached Menindie with eight men, having been joined by Mr Burke’s depot party from Cooper’s Creek. Messrs Becker, Purcell, Stone, and Patton died during the journey. Mr Burke left Cooper’s Creek on the 16th of December. Nothing has been heard of him since that date. He was accompanied by Messrs Wills, King, and Gray. The natives proved hostile, and the country for 150 miles was waterless. Two camels and three horses died, and one was lost. Signed, W. Wright.

I shall be in town with Mr Brahe tomorrow morning.

A.W. Howitt, Leader of Contingent Party
N.B. - Mr Howitt will be at the Telegraph Office until 5 o’clock.

Argus, 1 July 1861, p. 4.
Great excitement was occasioned in Melbourne on Saturday night last, by a rumour that information had reached town of the failure of the Exploration Expedition and the death of several of the party. The report assumed various forms but all were sufficiently alarming.

On inquiry yesterday, we found that the Hon Secretary of the Exploration Committee, Dr Macadam, had received a telegram late on Saturday, forwarded from Sandhurst by Mr C Howitt, stating that, at the inn known as the ‘Durham Ox,’ on the Loddon, between Sandhurst and Swan Hill, he had met Mr Brahe, one of Mr Burke’s party, returning from Cooper’s Creek. Mr Brahe had informed him that three men of the party under Mr Wright had died on the road from Menindie northwards - namely, Dr L Becker, the artist of the party, whose sketches were so much admired; and Messrs. Purcell and Stone. A fourth, named Patton, who had accompanied Mr Burke to Cooper’s Creek, and formed one of the depot party there, had also died after joining Mr Wright’s party, on the retreat of the depot party towards Menindie. In all these cases, the disease was scurvy and dysentery.

To make the narrative intelligible, it is necessary to remind the reader that when Mr Burke started from Menindie, it was with a party of eight, and that the larger body, under Mr Wright, were to follow on his track to Cooper’s Creek with the great bulk of the stores, there to form a depot in which the advanced party could fall back. Cooper’s Creek is about 480 miles northwards from Menindie; and this distance, a Mr Brahe reports, Mr Burke travelled in twenty days. He was favoured by the state of the waterholes as far as Camp 53, near Mount Bulloo, where he found permanent water, in a fine district of country within twenty miles of the 28th parallel of latitude. Once on Cooper’s Creek, a depot was established, which Mr Burke placed in charge of Mr Brahe and three men. Attempts were made to find a direct route from the creek towards Carpentaria, between 141° and 142° of longitude, but Mr Wills who penetrated ninety miles northwards, was unable to find water, and, losing his camels, was obliged to return on foot to the camp. Mr Burke then, with Mr Wills and two men (King and Gray), and six camels and one horse, on the 16th December last, proceeded westward down the creek, intending to make for Eyre’s Creek (a few miles south from Sturt’s farthest), and from that point to start direct for the Gulf of Carpentaria. There had been heavy thunderstorms, and he hoped to find the waterholes replenished by the rains. In a dispatch, dated the 13th December, he states his intentions. He carried with him full supplies for three months, within which period he intended to fall back on the depot, and Mr Brahe states that the leader's last instructions were - "Tell Mr Wright that I shall run no risk." He intended, in short, to proceed cautiously, and with no intention of making a rush for the Gulf, in the hope of being succoured from seaward, or of falling back upon Queensland.

He directed Mr Brahe to remain at the depot for three months, and then, if unrelieved, to return to Melbourne. Mr Burke not having returned in four months and a half, and Mr Wright not having come up with the remainder of the stores, and scurvy having broken out in his small party, Mr Brahe buried some provisions close to a tree in the depot, and cut the word "dig" in large letters on the wood, and set out on his return. Taking a track to the south-east, he reached Bullo, and there found Mr Wright’s party in a helpless state, so prostrated by sickness that he was unable to move in any direction. Assisted by the three survivors of the depot party, Mr Wright was enabled to make his way back with the remainder of his party to Menindie, where it remains for the present, Mr Wright himself having passed on to Adelaide by steamer.

The state of matters, therefore, is, that Mr Burke and his three companions have been out for nearly seven months, having had full rations for only three months when they started. Dr Mueller calculates that, with such chances of food as the country might supply, the last of the stock of provisions may only now be running out. The party may have returned to Cooper’s Creek, and they may find the small stock of provisions deposited there; but it is so small that it could only serve them during the period they might, in ordinarily favourable circumstances, take to perform the journey to Menindie. If they should reach Cooper’s Creek, however, in a state of exhaustion, they would not have rations enough left to sustain them during the period of rest necessary to recruit their strength, and would have only the wild-fowl and fish of the creek to trust to. It is possible, also, that the natives might find the buried provisions, though it is re-assuring to know that Mr Wright went on to Cooper’s Creek when joined by Mr Brahe, and satisfied himself that though the natives had visited the stockade, they had not disturbed the concealed stores. But there are great sources of fear, that the illness that prostrated Mr Wright’s men, and visited and found one victim in Mr Brahe’s small party, may have broken out in Mr Burke’s, and that the disease which attacked the camels at Cooper’s Creek and Bullo, and under which several of them died, may have attacked Mr Burke’s camels, and so left him helpless in the interior. That is the view that Mr Brahe takes of Mr Burke’s situation.

It is satisfactory to find that the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society, fully impressed with the importance of taking instant measures, yesterday resolved to increase Mr Howitt’s party to twelve men (including two natives and a surgeon); and that Mr Howitt will proceed direct to Cooper’s Creek with ample stores. There, if he does not find Mr Burke, he will establish a depot, which he will leave in charge of six men, and with the remainder he will follow up Mr Burke’s traces "as far as safety will permit," always bearing in mind that the primary object of his mission is to carry relief to the missing party.

Mr Howitt leaves Melbourne this evening, in pursuance of these instructions, and Mr Brahe accompanies him as one of the party. It is probable that Mr Hodgkinson and one or two of the strongest of the men now at Menindie will be selected by Mr Howitt to join him. We know that every effort will be made to reach Cooper's Creek without delay, and we trust that the needed help may yet be supplied in time to be of service to those for whom it is meant. Professor Neumayer, we may add, has offered to head a small party to search the north coast, starting from Port Denison, and that subject will be discussed at a meeting of the Royal Society, to be held to-day.

We may also add, that Mr Wright's party had the advantage of preserved vegetables amongst their stores, and that the poor men who have died (with the exception of Patton) had the assistance of the medical skill of Dr Beckler, though, unfortunately, that skill was unavailing against the strength of the diseases which preyed upon them. So far as the information of which we are in possession goes, there is not the slightest reason to suppose that Mr Burke's management of his expedition has not been judicious, or that his arrangements were otherwise than good. The accidents of the season, however, and the incidents of the journey, while highly favourable to the leader himself up to his departure from Cooper's Creek, have been most unfavourable to the party which was left to follow him, and have defeated plans that seem to have in reality been wisely laid.

We may note, in conclusion, that it is now apparent that Trooper Lyons, and Macpherson, the saddler of the party, who attempted to carry to Mr Burke the despatches of the society on Mr Stuart's success becoming known, had not reached Cooper's Creek. They mistook the water at Wright's Creek, or Bullo, for the more distant sheet of water, and had they been able to hold out for three or four days longer before they turned back, they would have reached the depot party. The impression left by their narratives (unfavourable as it was to Mr Burke) is now removed - namely, that the leader had dashed onwards from Cooper's Creek, trusting to the accidents of a favourable season.

Sunday, 30 June 1861.
Extraordinary meeting of the Exploration Committee held at the Supreme Court [new Court House on Russell and La Trobe-streets] in the afternoon.
Present: Stawell (chair), McCoy, Ligar, Eades, Bleasdale, Embling, Watson, Wilkie, Mueller, Gilbee, MacKenna, Neumayer and Macadam. Mr Howitt and Mr Brahe were also present.
[See also ML CY885 Childers for a description of Brahe's interrogation by Barkly and details of the Exploration Committee meeting]

Business: To receive a despatch from Mr Wright, a despatch from Mr Burke and Wills surveyor's report, brought down by Mr Howitt and Mr Brahe early this morning. There were a large number of members of the Royal Society present. Dr Macadam read the telegram from Mr Howitt received on Saturday evening from Sandhurst. Mr Brahe was examined at length by the Committee - Stawell, Ligar, Embling, Gilbee, Macadam, McCoy, Iffla and Wilkie.

Howitt then made suggestions to the Committee including taking more men, including Brahe and camels. Stawell thought that Governor Bowen should be approached to mount an expedition from Queensland. Wills' report was tabled but not read, but it was handed to the press for publication.

A sub-committee, consisting of Mueller, Wilkie, Neumayer, Macadam and Howitt, was appointed to report on the most efficient, safe and expedient arrangements for rendering succour to Mr Burke and his party. Meeting adjourned until 2.00 pm tomorrow.

Related archives:
State Library of New South Wales, ML CY885, Australian Exploring Expedition (Burke and Wills), Copy of all despatches from Sir Henry Barkly, Colonial Office, 27 March 1862, Mr Childers.

SLV MS13071 Box 2081/1f: 'Report of sub-committee on the question of sending the HMCS Victoria to the north coast in aid of the VEE' (with a letter from von Mueller, 29 June 1861 to David Wilkie concerning the said report). 10p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 111. Minutes of the special EC meeting, 30 June 1861.

Age, 1 July 1861.
Return of a portion of the party - Death of Dr Becker and three others.

A special meeting of the Royal Society was held yesterday afternoon, at the Supreme Court. The meeting was summoned in consequence of the receipt of despatches of the utmost importance from the Exploration party, to the effect that the bulk of the Expedition had fallen back upon Menindie, with the loss of Dr Becker and three men; and that Mr Burke, with three men, had been absent from Cooper’s Creek since the 16th of December, and had only three months’ provisions with him when he left.

Sir William Stawell presided at the meeting, and about thirty gentlemen were present.

Dr Macadam, the Hon Secretary of the Society, stated the circumstances which had induced him to summon the meeting upon so unusual a day. The previous evening he had received the following telegram from Mr Howitt, the leader of the contingent party lately despatched to the relief of the Expedition. Upon the receipt of this telegram he waited upon His Excellency the Governor, and according to arrangement then made, met His Excellency again that morning, and read to him and Sir W Stawell the despatches meanwhile received from Mr Brahe. Since that time he had occupied himself in calling together the members of the Committee, &c., to attend the meeting. He had telegraphed to Adelaide to obtain the earliest intimation of Mr Wright’s arrival in South Australia, so that any information required from him to direct the contingent party might be obtained. If any intelligence had to be forwarded the following day, it would take precedence over all other business at the Telegraph Office. He would first read the despatch from Mr Wright, which Mr Brahe had delivered to him.

Accompanying this there was a map, forwarded by Mr Wills, giving the positions of each camp between Turu-Wattu, where the party camped on the 31st of October, to the furthest northward point attained by Mr Wills prior to his start with Mr Burke from Cooper’s Creek. Mr Brahe had also delivered the following despatch from Mr Burke.

Dr Macadam said he might remark that Mr Brahe had pointed out to him that the four men were lost while the party was commanded by Mr Wright. There were, in fact, three parties during a portion of the time - Mr Wright’s party at Menindie, Mr Burke’s party, and the one left at Cooper’s Creek. The latter, the depot party, returning to Menindie met Mr Wright’s, and the two coalesced. Mr Burke, Mr Brahe informed him, had taken away with him when he left Cooper’s Creek on the 16th of December, 3 cwt. of flour, 50 lb of oatmeal, 50 lb of rice, 100 lb jerked horse flesh, 100 lb bacon and salt pork, and 30 to 40 lb of biscuits, supposed to be rations for three months. Mr Brahe had also informed him that sufficient provisions had been stored at Cooper’s Creek to enable Mr Burke to return to Menindie, should he strike the depot again. These provisions were packed very carefully in a corner of the stockade, in the neighborhood of a tree on which the word 'dig' had been cut very deeply. Although the depot party was absent, Mr Burke, there was no doubt, would by this means very readily find the provisions.

Sir William Stawell said before any proposition was submitted to the meeting it would be better to hear Mr Brahe’s statement as to why he left Cooper’s Creek, what instructions he received from Mr Burke, and why he had been unable to forward Mr Burke’s despatch sooner. So far as he could gather from the despatches, Mr Burke expected Mr Brahe would remain at the depot until he returned, or the provisions had been exhausted. Now it seemed, at first sight, to him, that neither of these events had occurred, and that Mr Brahe had recrossed the country at the time most dangerous to the camels. Perhaps Mr Brahe would make a general statement, including these points.

Mr Brahe said:

The instructions Mr Burke gave to me were, that I was to remain at the depot three months, or longer if my provisions would allow me, if I had sufficient to enable me to stay. I remained eighteen weeks, and was then compelled to leave the Creek on account of one of my men dying. I left a sufficient quantity of provisions to enable Mr Burke to return to Menindie. I left all that I thought I could well spare, as I knew that I should most likely require provisions for six or seven weeks travelling to make the Darling, for I knew we could not travel over the same track we had come up by. Perhaps the Committee would like to know the quantity of provisions I left Mr Burke. There were 50lb flour, 50 lb oatmeal, 50 lb sugar, and 38lb rice. I started with 12 horses and 6 camels, those left in my charge by Mr Burke. Four of the camels were in excellent condition, but two of them were very bad with the scab. They had never recovered the effects of their travel from Menindie to Cooper’s Creek. After Mr Burke’s departure all the camels improved fast but these two, and when the cold nights set in they became worse than ever. A few days after we left Cooper’s Creek one of them died. The horses were in very fair condition when we left. There was no water between camp 60 and Bulla. I did not follow Mr Burke’s track back. I could not expect to find water on it; and besides I cut off a great piece of country.

Sir William Stawell inquired of the provisions Mr Brahe took with him when he started. Mr Brahe said he had 150 lb of flour, a bag and a half or 70lb sugar, a bag and a half of oatmeal, about the same weight of biscuits, and a bag of rice weighing 4 lb. Mr Brahe in reply to other questions, continued: I had myself and three men — a party of four. The man who was ill did not die at Cooper’s Creek; he died while we were travelling back there, after we had joined Mr Wright’s party. I left principally on account of that man being so very ill. The blacks annoyed us and tried to rob us. After Mr Burke’s departure about 200 of them camped within a quarter of a mile of us. They were at the camp all day. Upon one occasion I thought they wanted to attack us, the men being at the time all painted and very noisy. However, I managed to keep them about a hundred yards of the depot. I had no occasion to fire upon them, and I had never had any intercourse with them. I would not allow them to come within a hundred yards of the encampment. I drew a line at that distance, and gave them to understand that if they came over it I would fire upon them. They understood that perfectly well. Once they did come over it and I stepped a few yards forward and fired my gun into the branches of a tree. Upon that they all turned and went away. I had an opportunity of shooting a crow a short time afterwards. We left Cooper’s Creek on the 21st, and came up to Wright’s party on the 28th. I merely met them by accident.

Sir W Stawell suggested that it would be better to allow Mr Brahe to explain all that he knew of Mr Burke’s intention and his own transactions since Mr Burke’s departure.

Mr Brahe said:

I accompanied Mr Burke down to his first camp, a place about twenty-two miles down the creek. He halted there about three o’clock in the afternoon. I left the party about four o’clock to return to the depot. The following day my companions and myself began to cut logs for the purpose of putting up a stockade. It was put up and finished the day before Christmas. After that the blacks made their appearance and kept us very busy. During a fortnight we were watching night and day. I could never venture to leave the camp more than six or seven miles because of them. One of the men had to look after the camels, another had to go out twice a day to look after the horses, so that generally there were only two of us in the camp to defend it. The greatest heat we had was 112 deg. in the shade, and 117 deg. in the tent. The average heat was about 100 deg. In January it was rather less than in February. I think the natives meant mischief sometimes. One night when I was looking for a horse, I found him in the grass by the creek surrounded by a tribe of natives, who afterwards annoyed us very much at the camp. I fired my revolver in the air, and the horse hearing the noise broke away from the natives. I then passed through their camp, got the horse, and was not molested. I supposed they meant mischief because they had surrounded the horse, for what purpose I could not tell. In January we passed our time washing and mending the pack bags, and looking after the horses and camels.

Mr Embling inquired if the natives appeared to be alarmed at the camels. Mr Brahe replied not, neither did they attempt to molest them. In answer to other questions, Mr Brahe said, I did not keep a diary. It would have been useless. I had nothing to enter. However, I kept notes, from which I could give a written account of what took place at the depot if required. Sir W Stawell observed that all the details would be of great interest to the society.

Mr Brahe, in answer to questions, continued: We had rain about a week before Mr Burke left and a few light showers afterwards. The cold nights set in about the beginning of April.

Sir W Stawell inquired what were the precise instructions Mr Brahe received from Mr Burke? Mr Brahe said: They were that I was to remain at the depot three months, and longer if I could. Mr Burke told me that he was sure to be back in three months time. He said nothing about the Gulf of Carpentaria, and he did not expect to meet with a vessel. Mr Burke told me that he would not run any risk and might be back in a month. It was his intention to strike Eyre’s Creek and then, I believe, to cross the country. He had heard of Mr Stuart’s arrival when upon the Darling. He had no official dispatch upon the subject, but I believe he had seen a South Australian newspaper. Mr Burke expected to make Eyre’s Creek in eight days from leaving Cooper’s Creek. I cannot tell what course he would take afterwards. He told me he was making for Eyre’s Creek. The nearest station is on the South Australian border, Mount Searle, but I never heard the distance to there mentioned.

Professor McCoy: From conversations you had with Mr Burke about meeting a ship, do I understand that you were to report to the officer in command of the party coming up that he did not expect or rely upon a vessel being sent him? Mr Brahe: No.

Sir W. Stawell understood that Mr Burke did not expect to meet a ship, and Mr Brahe was to tell the officer coming up that he intended to run no risk.

Professor McCoy said then the last words of Mr Burke were that he anticipated no assistance from a ship sent to the coast of Carpentaria. Mr Brahe said this was the case.

Other questions were then asked Mr Brahe as to his ultimate determination to leave the depot. He said, Mr Patton had been very ill before I left, with the scurvy. I did not know at the time what it was. His legs were very much swollen, and one of his arms. He lost his appetite, could not eat, and scarcely ever left his bed. We had no medicine except some citric acid, which we all used. We did not sow any seeds. It would have been of no use, for the rats destroyed everything of that sort. The other men were affected. McDonogh and myself had sore gums, and our ankles were very sore. The other man was quite well. There was very good water at Cooper’s Creek. Where we were encamped there was a large waterhole a quarter of a mile long, and 100 yards broad. The water was quite fresh and not saline. There was an abundance of waterfowl and fish. I put the stores left for Mr Burke in a camel’s trough, and having dug a deep hole put the trough into that. The hole was dug in the corner of the stockade where the horses were tied up, close by a tree. The stores were covered with two feet of earth, and were wrapped up in calico to keep them air tight. On the tree I marked the word 'dig', I cannot say what depth the rats burrow, but they are mostly on the banks of the creek. When I returned with Mr Wright’s party, the stores had not been touched. Some natives had encamped at the depot but they had not interfered with the stores. I left Cooper’s Creek principally on account of Mr Patton, who was ill. We took three times the quantity of provisions left for Mr Burke, because we thought it would take some time to reach the Darling. I expected I should have to go on by myself in search of water at times. We had rain a few days before we left the depot for a few hours. During our stay at the depot the water in the creek fell about five feet. I do not know what the depth of the hole was. I dived ten feet, and could not find the bottom. There were deep and large waterholes about. I am sure there is permanent water there if there is no rain for three years. During the conversations I had with Mr Burke, he never spoke to me about his future course. I asked him whether he would make for the settled district upon the east coast, if he did get to the other side, but have never seemed to have heard about it. He asked me, 'Where is that?'

Monday, 1 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting held at 2.00 pm at the Royal Society hall.
Present: Stawell (chair), Macadam, Governor Barkly, Mueller, Wilkie, Bleasdale, Neumayer, McCoy, Embling, MacKenna, Watson, Smith, Howitt and Brahe along with several visitors and Governor Barkly.

Macadam read Brahe's report and then the sub-committee reported. Stawell thought it best if the report was read paragraph by paragraph and a discussion was held at the end of each paragraph. Howitt and Brahe addressed the meeting and the sub-committees report was adopted. Meeting adjourned until 3.00 pm Thursday.

Macadam read the resolutions passed at the previous meeting, and stated that, in accordance with a request made to him, Mr Brahe had copied out the notes made by him from the time of Mr Burke's departure to the day when he met Mr Wright's party at Bullo. At the request of the Chairman, Brahe's report was read.

Macadam then read the following report of the sub-committee appointed on Sunday afternoon:

The sub-committee appointed to consider the most efficient, safe, and expedient arrangements for rendering succour to Mr Burke and his party beg to submit for the consideration of the Exploration Committee, in first instance, that Mr Howitt's party, in order to effect a hopeful search for the expedition, should be strengthened to about twelve individuals, including one or two aborigines.

A party thus constituted would possess sufficient strength to despatch early, at any manifestations of scurvy, those afflicted with this dreadful malady back to the settlements, without involving by this measure the necessity of abandoning the continuation of search on Mr Burke's track, and yet commanding, after such a division of the party, sufficient strength to repulse any attacks of the natives.

Mr Howitt proposes a view in which the sub-committee conditionally concur that a party of about five should return, if required, with early despatches, either from Cooper's Creek or Eyre's Creek, or any other locality Mr Howitt may finally decide on. But the sub-committee entertain the opinion that, until the cause for sending despatches arises, a separation in Mr Howitt's party should be deemed admissible only under the most urgent circumstances; and, impressed with this view, they cannot recommend that a depot at Cooper's Creek should be re-established by such means as will be at Mr Howitt's direct command.

Yet the sub-committee perceive the necessity of urging that immediate steps should be taken, before the cool and rainy season passes away, to replenish the stores at Cooper's Creek, and endeavour to maintain a depot under the guardianship of a separate contingent party, and establish also a periodical communication between Cooper's Creek and the settlements, in order that Mr Burke and Mr Howitt, whenever thus far returning to the settled districts, should find by these means their home journey facilitated, and rendered at this stage safe.

But the sub-committee, most anxious to prevent by all means within their power the recurrence of such losses as were recently sustained in the Victorian Expedition through the ravages of scorbutic disease, regard it imperative for Mr Howitt to guard all his movements in such an independent manner as to see his retreat never intercepted, be it either to the settlements of the Darling, or to the stations northward of Mount Serle.

The sub-committee desire to express their opinion that discretionary power should be granted to Mr Howitt for purchasing, besides the sixteen horses already provided for his party, such additional number as he may consider requisite, after availing himself of any serviceable horses and dromedaries brought back by Messrs Wright and Brahe.

The sub-committee find it impossible to complete through Mr Howitt, in the course of this day, all the additional local preparations for the responsible and perilous enterprise it trusted to the guidance of that gentleman, but no efforts will be spared to speed his departure as much as possible.

Appended is a list of those articles required additionally by Mr Howitt's party, irrespective of such equipment and stores as are rendered available by the return of the two detachments of the Victorian expedition.

It is calculated that the party will convey full rations for five months, without impeding the celerity of their progress by overburdening the animals; but an opinion is entertained by the sub-committee that all arrangements entered into by the travelling party should be be so framed as to render the travellers independent of dromedaries at any stage of their proceedings, however great the auxiliary aid of these animals may prove.

Drs Eades and Gilbee have been been so friendly as to secure the requisite supplies of antiscorbutic medicines for the party.

Authority will be required for placing an additional sum of £100 cash in Mr Howitt's hands, partly to meet the now increasing travelling expenses through the settlements, and partly to grant, through Mr Howitt's agency, the necessary sums to the employees of the Victorian expedition recently returned to the settlements, for the purpose of enabling them to proceed to Melbourne; also, to pay out of this fund for the services of the man temporarily engaged by Mr Wright after his return. It seems also expedient to invest Mr Howitt with authority to arrange, ad interim, for the safe keeping of the property of the expedition remaining accumulated on the Darling after his departure, by the engagement of a special storekeeper or otherwise.

Notice has been given through the press that the services of a medical-officer are needed for Mr Howitt's party, in accordance with the resolution passed by the Exploration Committee. It is suggested that supplementary instructions should, without delay, be issued for Mr Howitt's guidance, although it is scarcely needful to point out how necessary it will be to leave sufficient latitude to that gentleman to carry, according to his own judgement, and in accordance to circumstances, his measures into effect.

The sub-committee deem it, under the urgency of circumstances, incumbent on the Exploration Committee that a telegraphic request should be made to the South Australian Government to direct that the native police stationed at Mount Serle do act as bearers of despatches to Cooper's Creek, which locality, under such arrangement, would probably be reached several weeks earlier than could be effected via Menindie, whilst it is thought we would simultaneously learn to a fuller extent how far the communications between the northern settlements of South Australia and Cooper's Creek might be kept up throughout the year, and how far it may be preferable to re-supply any future depot on Cooper's Creek from the Lake Torrens settlements.

The Chairman thought it would be better to read the report paragraph by paragraph. On the first paragraph being read, Mr Embling thought that the party should consist of twelve white men and two natives.

His Excellency said he was about to make a few remarks in opposition to the recommendation of the Committee. He thought a party of twelve would be too large in proportion to the amount of stores to be carried when in search of Mr Burke. It was most desirable that the party should proceed as rapidly as possible. If there was a large party, the risk of disease would be greater, and in the event of there being a scarcity of water, the want of it would be felt more with a large party. There might be sufficient water for horses for a small party, but not for a large party. It appeared to him that six good men and true would be ample, with two black fellows. That was his opinion; but of course he would submit to those who had better knowledge on the subject than he had. At all events, experience had shown that small parties were best.

Mr Embling thought there should be a large party, because, from all accounts, the natives were very hostile; besides, if one or two of the party were ill, the number would be much weakened, as in the case of Mr Brahe, who was driven back owing to the illness of one of the men.

Dr Mueller thought the party should be made as effective as possible if they were to render assistance. Mr Howitt thought it would be desirable to have men to send with despatches, if necessary, without at the same time weakening the party. They had to look upon the expedition not merely in a geographical light, but as a matter of search for Mr Burke; and it would be found difficult – even supposing the greatest skill was shown by the natives – to follow his tracks. The party would have to spread over a considerable extent of country.

Dr Bleasdale thought that what was most desirable was, to get to Cooper's Creek with the least possible delay, as Mr Burke might be there in want of medicines and vegetables more than in want of anything else. He would suggest that, however large the party was to be, six white men and two blacks should push on from the Darling or any point where they could leave the heavier portion of the baggage, and get to Cooper's Creek as soon as possible. Such a party as that would be able to proceed there, and, if necessary, could go on, and leave two men – for two would be sufficient – to hold the stockade against the natives; or three good men could go on and three remain. He would submit that, when Mr Howitt arrived at Cooper's Creek, he should be allowed to use his own discretion as to how he should follow Mr Burke. He thought six would be ample, as, when Gregory formed his first party, he had only eight men besides himself for the whole journey. They might have been troubled with the natives, but they certainly proved sufficient for the journey.

The Chairman said the matter had been discussed fully on Sunday afternoon, and the Committee then decided that the party should not consist of more than twelve persons. Reference was at the time made to Mr Stuart, who considered ten persons were sufficient. It appeared to him that the sub-committee had strictly adhered to the decision of the Committee. He quite concurred with what His Excellency had said, and he thought that twelve should be the maximum, and not the minimum, as any more than twelve, including the Aboriginals, would, he believed, render the whole expedition fruitless. Ho would suggest that the recommendation of the sub-committee should be adopted. He looked upon Mr Embing's amendment as not in order.

Professor McCoy thought the resolution was in some measure put in the form mentioned by the sub-committee. The opposition to a large party was particularly founded upon the delay which would take place, both as regarded finding provisions and Mr Howitt being able to find suitable men. He pointed out on Sunday that the larger the party was the more liable Mr Howitt would be to have men of delicate constitution in it, and thus directly it would be weakened. One of the greatest arguments in favour of a large party had been answered by the remark, that it would be necessary for protection against the natives, for if a man fell ill he would be the more easily surprised by them. From what had been told them by Mr Brahe, it appeared that he had been able to hold his own against the natives, and that was another proof that a large party was not needed. He thought that Mr Howitt's party, reinforced by a brave man like Mr Brahe and two natives, in all seven men, should be all started – they should have pack-saddles, and start at once by railway, without waiting for additional instructions, which, if necessary, could be sent by telegraph to them. Mr Howitt should have power to increase his party, either by engaging some of the old party, or else stockriders and others residing about the Darling. He should have power to do that, but he ought not now to be burdoned with twelve men, which would be sure to delay him, whilst Mr Burke and his party might be in the most urgent circumstances. He recommended that Mr Howitt should be asked whether there was any reasons why the party should consist of more than twelve persons.

Mr Howitt said that he had arrived at the conclusion that a party of twelve, including two natives, would be sufficient. He would be inclined to move the whole party at once to Cooper's Creek, with supplies; and if he then found it necessary to send down despatches; or if any of the party were not in a fit state to go further, he should send down four and take on six, with the natives. He believed that that would be better than a larger party. He intended that they should go by coach to Swan Hill on Thursday night (Hear, hear.) The paragraph was then agreed to.

On the paragraph, which referred to the separation of the party, the Chairman said it was somewhat different from that passed on the previous evening. The Secretary said he had recommended a departure from that, in order that Mr Howitt, when at Cooper's Creek, could decide whether to retain the whole of the party or not.

The Chairman said that Mr Howitt had been instructed to keep to Mr Burke's track, but still was unfettered. If he established a depot at Cooper's Creek, he would have to show good reason for so doing. Tho paragraph was agreed to.

On the question whether a supplementary party should be formed, His Excellency thought it was desirable that Mr Howitt should know how that was arranged before he started, as his intention of establishing a depot at Cooper's Creek might depend upon that arrangement. The Chairman said that if Mr Howitt pressed on with stores for six months, and had twelve men, by the end of that time he must hear something of poor Mr Burke. The hot weather would then have set in; so that if Mr Howitt could take up sufficient provisions, there was no occasion to send a supplementary party. He thought the matter should be decided at once, so that Mr Howitt could make his calculations. In answer to Dr Macadam, Mr Howitt said that he should take up provisions for five full months, but they would last longer than that. By five months, he meant five months after leaving Menindie. The Secretary said that the question raised was, that Mr Howitt should be supplemented by a party with stores at the end of one month. There would be no occasion for such a large party if it was decided that Mr Wright should return to his command and take up camels and stores. He thought by making two parties, speed would be gained in the first instance, and afterwards stores. Mr Howitt remarked that one or two of the men, with a sepoy, were now at Menindie with the camels. Mr Ligar thought that discretionary power should be given to Mr Howitt to leave stores and a party at Cooper's Creek to fall back upon. He objected to the proposition of sending up a supplementary party, as Mr Howitt could not rely upon them with so much certainly as if he left some of his own party behind him with stores. Mr Mackenna remarked that if twelve were sent up, and there was no depot at Cooper's Creek, the whole number would have to go on into the desert. Mr Howitt said that, as far as one party was concerned, he could carry stores, if it was arranged that he was to return before communication between Cooper's Creek and Menindie was closed. Mr Ligar thought that as the road had been travelled over before, it would be best for Mr Howitt to take the whole party. Then, if it was necessary, on his arrival at Cooper's Creek he could send back some of them. So many circumstances might arise to prevent parties reaching Cooper's Creek from Menindie, that it was too much to expect Mr Howitt to rely upon them. Mr Howitt said that that was merely a confirmation of his opinion. As far as Mr Wright was concerned, however, he considered that gentleman was capable of overcoming any difficulties, judging from his despatches. The Secretary moved, as an amendment, that the portion of the report referring to the supplementary party be struck out.

Mr Howitt wished to know whether the Committee would allow him to spend some few days in ascertaining whether there was any communication open between South Australia and Cooper's Creek, so that he would know when he returned whether he could go that way. The Chairman thought Mr Gregory's report would be useful. Did Mr Howitt mean a few days before starting, or when he was at Cooper's Creek ? Mr Howitt replied 'At Cooper's Creek.'

The Chairman thought that was a matter for Mr Howitt's decision. He would suggest that a short telegram should be sent to the Surveyor-General at Adelaide, asking whether Mr Gregory's track could be followed in the dry months, and thus give access to South Australia in four or five days. He apprehended that the Committee placed such confidence in Mr Howitt as to leave that matter entirely to him. The paragraph was then struck out.

In answer to the chairman, Mr Brahe stated that Mr Wright's camels were slightly affected with scab, but be believed they would be well in five or six weeks. The sepoy had stated that they could be cured in three weeks. The Secretary stated, with reference to the scurvy, that Messrs Eades and Gilbee had searched the most recent authorities, and had found that no preventative better than citric acid could be used. Mr Brahe said that the exploring party had, as a rule, taken citric acid with the water they drank.

The Chairman thought that Mr Howitt should be appointed to take charge from Mr Wright, and should be authorised to discharge those members of the main expedition party whom he did not take with him. The Committee was hard pressed, and although they felt that Mr Wright had performed his duty, it was better that Mr Howitt should be placed in charge, as Mr Wright had gone away. He thought some arrangements should be made in case Mr Howitt met with Mr Burke, as, even although Mr Burke required stores and men, Mr Howitt could not give them up without authority, as it was a contingent party, and not under the command of Mr Burke. Mr Howitt said he should be quite willing to hand over any stores or men to Mr Burke.

The report of the sub-committee was then adopted, and ordered to be inserted in the supplementary instructions given to Mr Howitt.

On the motion of Dr Macadam, the selection of a medical man was vested in Messrs Gilbee and Embling. Two applications for the office had been received.

It was also decided that an assistant-surveyor should form one of the contingent.

The Chairman said, as it was just possible that Mr Burke had succeeded in pushing towards the northern coast, and was in a hopeless condition, it should be considered whether a northern expedition should be formed from Port Denison, across Mr Leichardt's route, to the Gulf of Carpentaria. It was a question for the Committee to decide. Professor Neumayer was still willing to take charge of a party, and that was sufficient guarantee that it would be well conducted. A long desultory conversation took place among the gentlemen present, and reference was made to charts of the country. The Hon Mr Hervay handed in a sketch map made by Mr Dalrymple, of the country near Port Denison; but it was agreed not to make any decision that afternoon.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 112. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 1 July 1861, signed by Mueller.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3a, RSV EC minutes and reports of sub-committees, 1861-2, (incomplete and some undated, including August 1862 – December 1862 and Progress Report for 1861. 69 p., ms.

• Item 1 - Report of sub-committee on mounting relief expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria, n.d., but c. early July 1861. 5p.
• Item 2 - Report of sub-committee appointed to aid organizing the Victorian Relief Expedition under the leadership of Mr Howitt, n.d., but c. late June 1861. Report signed clerk Robert Dickson) 8 p.

Thursday, 4 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee, held at 3.00 pm at the Royal Society hall.
Present: Mueller, Stawell, W H Norman, Howitt, Wilkie, Embling, Ligar, Gilbee, Eades, Elliott, McCoy,

Stawell had not arrived by 3.45 pm so Mueller was voted into the chair. The Chairman announced that Howitt would leave this evening and the instructions would be read to him. Gilbee stated that the selection of a doctor had been delegated to him and Howitt and they had selected Dr Wheeler. Embling moved the appointment be ratified - agreed.

The agreement between Howitt's party and Dr Wilkie on behalf of the Exploration Committee was ratified and then the acting secretary read the instructions to Mr Howitt. Stawell then entered the room and suggested Howitt take sheep with him to the Cooper to prevent scurvy as Mitchell had done. Howitt thought that the sheep may delay his progress, but the Chairman thought fat wethers could travel eighteen miles a day at this time of year. Mueller thought this would regard Howitt's progress which he thought would be twenty-five miles a day. After some discussion the matter was dropped.

Wilkie thought as Brahe was now an officer his salary should be increased to £200. It was agreed that the salaries of Wheeler, Welch and Brahe be increased to £200.

Mueller read a letter from Landells offering to follow Howitt with the camels currently at Meninidee. The Chairman thought it strange that Landells should consider himself the only person fit to manage the camels as he had left poor Burke to be sacrificed. It did not redound much to his credit (hear hear).

The Exploration Committee moved:

1. That the Exploration Committee should promptly apply to Government, soliciting the favourable consideration of the Executive to render the steam-sloop Victoria available for the purpose of proceeding to the Gulf of Carpentaria, with a view of ascertaining whether aid or relief could there be afforded to Mr Burke's party.

2. That the Exploration Committee further recommend, in order to render this inquiry after the fate of the explorers most effectual, that the function of the Government should be sought to organize, in conjunction with the naval assistance, a land party, to charter a transport vessel for the purpose of conveying from Sydney; or Newcastle twenty-four horses, the requisite forage, supply of Coals, &c., to the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

3. That Professor Neumayer's proposal on conducting this land party, with the sole view of searching for the vestiges of the Victorian Exploring Expedition, should be brought under the favourable consideration of the Government,

Howitt and his party (Brahe, Wheeler, Samson, Calcott and W Phillips) took leave of the Committee and left the hall. [Note: Railway line Melbourne to Woodend wasn't opened until 8 July 1861].

Mr A Morris passed a memorandum to Norman suggesting the Committee secure the services of Frederick Walker to lead a land party to travel overland from Rockhampton to the Albert River. A lengthy discussion ensued over the value of one or both expeditions under Norman and Walker. It was decided to adjourn until tomorrow at 2.00 pm.

****

In pursuance of a motion carried on Monday last, the Exploration Committee met yesterday afternoon at the hall of the Royal Society, in Victoria-street. The meeting was called for three o'clock, but as his Honour the Chief Justice was not present at a quarter to four, through being detained at the Supreme Court, Dr Mueller was voted to the chair.

The minutes of the preceding meetings were read and confirmed.

The Chairman stated that, as the members present were aware, Mr. Howitt and his party would leave that evening on their noble and perilous enterprise, and as their time was precious, he thought it would be better at once to read the instructions to be given to them.

Mr Gillbee stated that, as the committee were aware, the selection of a medical officer had been delegated to himself and Mr Howitt. Mr Wheeler had been selected by them from a number of applicants. That gentleman pos- sessed every qualification for the post, as he had been with Mr. Stuart in some of his expeditions, and had been accustomed to exploration. He was also an M.B. of the London University.

Mr Embling moved that the appointment be ratified. Agreed to.

Dr Eades mentioned that about twenty-seven pounds weight of drugs had been provided, on the recommendation or Dr Wheeler, who would also be furnished with a pocket-case of instruments.

The agreement between the party and Dr Wilkie, on behalf of the Exploration Committee was duly subscribed to by the parties.

The Acting Secretary read the supplementary instructions given to Mr Howitt, which were adopted. They contained the substanoe of what had been stated by the committee to be their wishes at the meetings held on Sunday and Monday last.

Sir W F Stawell, who here entered the room and took the chair, stated that he had received a letter from Mr Brodribb, of Brighton who was an old campaigner, suggesting that Mr Howitt should take sheep with him to Cooper's Creek, in order that the party might have a supply of fresh meat, which would act as a preventative against the scurvy to some extent. He thought they could very easily be driven from Menindie to Cooper's Creek, although they might be troublesome the first day. Sir Thomas Mitchell and other travellers had adopted that course. He (the chairman) was not aware what Mr Howitt's opinions were on the subject. Mr Howitt thought, if he were compelled to push on rapidly, the sheep would be very troublesome. The Chairman said that fat wethers would travel eighteen miles a-day at this time of the year. Dr Mueller thought they would retard Mr Howitt's progress, as they could not travel twenty-five miles a-day, as Mr Howitt intended to do. The Chairman doubted whether Mr Howitt would be able to go that distance, but still it was a matter that could be left to Mr Howitt. After some further discussion, the subject dropped.

Dr Wilkie thought that, as Mr Brahe had been appointed an officer, his salary should be increased to £200. It was agreed that the salaries of Dr. Wheeler Mr. Welsh, and Mr. Brahe, should be £200 each. Mr Embling proposed that the salary of the leader should be increased. The Chairman thought his salary should remain as it was at present. Should Mr Howitt be fortunate enough to return, then the committee would have an opportunity of showing their appreciation of his services.

Dr Mueller said the following letter had been addressed to His Excellency by Mr Landells:

To His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, K.C.B., &c., president of the Royal Society of Victoria.
I have the honour respectfully to submit to your Excellency the following memorial in relation to the unfortunate position of Mr Burke and his three men in the interior.

That I am most willing immediately to proceed to and take charge of the camels at Menindie reported as being sick, and whose disease the others will inevitably take. I will pledge myself to perfectly cure these animals, and to follow Mr Howitt with the camels shortly after he leaves Menindie, conveying by them provisions to enable Mr. Howitt to extend his search to the final ascertaining the fate, and to the recovery of the lost party.

I should require twelve water-bags; and I would propose that the camels in the Royal Park would proceed at once towards Menindie. They would arrive there in about one month. They would need pack-saddles, and I should require a bag of horse-hair, and some cloth, &c., to repair those now damaged in the bush; also some medicines.

During the journey of these camels towards Menindie, I would rapidly push ahead, and get the other animals cured and ready to start immediately on their arrival.

I venture to mention to your Excellency that I submit these proposals from a deep solicitude for the lost party, whose fate is most perilous.

I am satisfied that these sick camels at Menindie cannot be cured by any aid there, either sepoy or European. As proof of this I may say that these animals require peculiar treatment, and that the sepoy and the Government veterinary surgeon (who also sought the advice of others) could not and did not cure the camels in the Royal Park. This I accomplished on my return from the bush in a very short period, although they had been months under treatment without benefit previously.

From my knowledge of interior journeyings, I know that Mr Howitt cannot hope to overtake or to find Mr Burke without the assistance of camels, horses being perfectly useless in a country not well supplied with water, and incapable of making forced marches in a hot country without good feed and water, and, with camels, he must have those who can effectually treat them, or they will prove worse than useless. With the assistance of camels, should Mr Burke have left any traces whatever of his progress, he may be followed up to any distance whatever, and the party recovered or their fate certainly ascertained. With the assistance of these animals I am assured that I can thoroughly meet the difficulties which Mr Howitt's party will have to encounter; without them, I consider Mr Howitt's expedition is almost hopeless.

Should your Excellency desire further information on the subject, I shall be ready and anxious at any time to wait on your Excellency for the purpose of submitting it.

I have the honour to be,
Your Excellency's humble servant,
GEORGE J. LANDELLS
27 Lonsdale-street west. July 3.

The Chairman thought that it was not necessary to consider the matter at the present time, but that, unless some motion were made, they should pass on to business of more importance. It appeared to him that if Mr Landells considered he was the only person who could manage camels, it was a strange thing he should have left poor Burke to be sacrificed. It did not redound much to his credit (Hear, hear). The Chairman stated that the sub-committee had brought up their report.

The same was read, as follows:

The sub-committee instructed to submit to the Exploration Committee a plan of operation by which succour may be afforded to the Victorian Expedition, should the party be detained on the north coast, have adopted the following resolutions:

1. That the Exploration Committee should promptly apply to Government, soliciting the favourable consideration of the Executive to render the steam-sloop Victoria available for the purpose of proceeding to the Gulf of Carpentaria, with a view of ascertaining whether aid or relief could there be afforded to Mr Burke's party.

2. That the Exploration Committee further recommend, in order to render this inquiry after the fate of the explorers most effectual, that the sanction of the Government should be sought to organize, in conjunction with the naval assistance, a land party, to charter a transport vessel for the purpose of conveying from Sydney or Newcastle twenty-four horses, the requisite forage, supply of coals, &c., to the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

3. That Professor Neumayer's proposal of conducting this land party, with the sole view of searching for the vestiges of the Victorian Exploring Expedition, should be brought under the favourable consideration of the Government.

The sub-committee are prompted to recommend the above resolutions by a deep desire of offering by these measures the most ample and speedy aid to the small party now in the field; and although it may appear that by combining in first instance a naval and land expedition for the relief of the travellers delays would arise, which most studiously should be avoided, yet, since the Victoria is under repair, and thus insuperable hindrances have arisen to the departure of this ship before the 24th inst., meanwhile all arrangements for forming the land party and providing for its services could be readily completed.

It is necessary, in considering this extended plan of action, to be mindful to the necessity that under any circumstances a coal depot has to be formed at the north coast, in order to ensure that independence of action in the naval expedition which the urgency of the present case renders so particularly desirable.

Neither for the conveyance of the requisite supply of coals direct means would be offered by the Victoria, nor an opportunity of shipping to the Gulf of Carpentaria more than eight horses – a number insufficient for a land party to search carefully and safely for traces of the explorers along or near the northern shores.

Under the present favourable south-east monsoon, a sailing vessel would almost simulta- neously with the steamer reach Cape York. Captain Norman estimates, in answer to a series of questions by His Excellency the Governor, that the Gulf of Carpentaria could be reached at this time of the year from here in about five weeks by the outside passage, and in, approximately, six weeks by the inside passage.

It appears, also, that at this season of the year vessels bound for Indian ports could be chartered at a very moderate cost, and within short notice.

The quantlty of coals estimated by Captain Norman as likely to be required for his voyage would probably not fall short of 500 tons. The expenditure involved in despatching a land party from the Albert River, for skirting the northern tracts of Australia, may be approximately fixed at £2,000, irrespective of the charter of the transport ship.

Captain Norman, whose anxiety to aid in the good cause deserves of being praiseworthily mentioned, has expressed his utmost readiness to employ the powerful means at his disposal, not only to institute a search of all the navigable rivers of the north coast, but also to facilitate the landing of the horses, &c., and to alleviate the duties of the land party, by placing tempo- rary camps or depots under the charge of officers and marines at his order, and in case of calm to speed the progress of the transport vessel.

It is recommended that the first search should be made at the Albert River, as the most likely spot the Victorian Expedition would steer for, if bent for the north coast.

Dr Mueller said, in submitting the report, the committee had not been unmindful of the kind offer made by Mr. Morris, to place at the disposal of the committee the force he mentioned at a former meeting; but as the committee had been specially directed to draw up a report with reference to the Victoria steamer, they had not entered upon any other matter. He was delighted, however, to see Mr Morris present. He considered the committee could not do too much, nor could they adopt too many expedients to afford relief to Mr. Burke and his party.

Mr Howitt and his party, consisting of William Brahe (officer), W F Wheeler (surgeon), H M Sampson, W H Calcott, and Weston Phillips (lately with Mr Howitt in Gipps Land), here left the hall, after having taken leave of the committee.

Professor McCoy said he would lay on the table a communication he had just received from Mr Morris. In the report of the sub-committee it was recommended that horses should be provided for a land party to search the inner margin of the Gulf of Carpentaria, whilst Commander Norman's boats' crows searched the inlets. The matter might be met in two ways; but he considered it was most urgent that the committee should have immediate authority to telegraph to Sydney, so that a message might be sent to Sydney to provide a sufficient number of horses and to invite tenders for horses to be delivered, if possible, at Albert River. If it was impossible to deliver horses at the mouth of the Albert, the proposition of the committee was that 500 tons of coal should be purchased for the Victoria, and that the vessel conveying the coals should also take the horses, if they could not be conveyed safely overland. It was suggested that the vessel could be so loaded with coal as to allow of accommodation for the horses being made over the coal.

Commander Norman said he could leave in three weeks, and could probably accompany the transport vessel. Also, he would be prepared to go down the Gulf of Carpentaria, and assist in landing the horses. Since he had entered the room, Mr Morris had placed in his hand a memorandum suggesting the employment of Mr Walker to procure horses, and also to secure the services of his mounted party to look for the track of Mr Burke, if he went towards the eastern settlements. It only referred to Mr Walker as being the principal member of the land search party.

Mr Embling would like to have Mr Morris's views upon the subject, as perhaps the two matters could be settled together. His own feelings were in favour of the overland party at the present time.

Dr Mueller said the party would take from six to eight weeks to get from Rockhampton to the Albert River.

The following letter was read from Mr Morris:

Melbourne Club,
July 4, 1861.
Sir,
–I have the honour to inclose a memorandum which I have written for the ¡nformation of the Exploration Committee, respecting what appears to me to be the best steps to be taken in case it should be decided to send relief to Mr. Burke from Queensland. I hope to be in attendance at the committee-room to-day, and will be only too happy to co-operate with them in any way in my power.

Believe me yours very faithfully,
A Morris.
The Honorary Secretary of the Exploration Committee.

Memorandum for the consideration of the Exploration Comittee.

Should the committee decide upon sending an expedition for the relief of Mr Burke and his party from some part of Queensland, I would recommend that Rockhampton, on the Fitzroy River, should be the point of departure, as it is the farthest northern port where the requisite number of horses could be obtained. Provisions, arms, pack and other saddles, calico tents, and whatever else might be necessary for fitting out a light party, should be sent on from Sydney.

I would by no means advise that a vessel should be sent to the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria, for, independently of the very great extra expense of such an expedition, one overland would reach the scene of its operations in less time than one by sea. Besides this, no relief could be afforded to Mr Burke from a vessel, should he have succeeded in passing the head of the gulf in his retreat towards Queensland; while a party proceeding by land might meet him.

It should also be borne in mind that there are considerable dangers in passing through Torres' Straits; and that when the expedition should have landed, delay must take place, in order to recruit the horses after the voyage; and possibly, as happened in the case of Mr Kennedy, the effect of the grasses on the horses might be relaxing rather than strengthening.

Further, the unexpected advent of a party of white men, as would be their landing on any part of the north coast, would inevitably alarm the natives, and disincline them from holding that communication which a qualified Australian explorer can always turn to good account. By making the approach from districts settled by Europeans the character of the expedition could be made known by one tribe to another, and a certain amount of valuable co-operation secured.

If any expedition from Rockhampton should be decided upon, I would advise that it should not consist of more than eight persons, including native blacks; that it should be provided liberally with saddle and pack horses, so that its movements might be made with rapidity. But, as in all enterprizes of importance, the success of such an expedition will mainly depend upon the selection of the leader, who, amongst other high qualities, should combine within himself moral fitness for command, physical endurance, a large experience in bush life, and a perfect knowledge of the aboriginal character. The committee should also feel assured that no ambition to aid science, or to acquire laurels as an Australian explorer, would induce him to consider the relief of Mr Burke and his party of secondary importance.

To secure the objects of such an expedition as that contemplated, I would propose that the committee should endeavour to obtain the assistance of Mr Frederick Walker, commandant of the native police of New South Wales some time before the separation of Queensland. This gentleman is well known as the best bushman in the northern districts, and he has a more intimate acquaintance with the character of the natives of Australia, and has acquired a greater control over large numbers of them, than any other person ever attained.

While he is cautious to guard against surprisal, yet he has a method of gaining their confidence, even on a first interview, which is quite wonderful. I am satisfied, if Mr Walker once got on the tracks of Mr Burke, or any other white man, that he would induce the wild aborigines to assist him to trace him out.

Mr Walker has, for the last five or six years, employed himself in selecting runs for different parties, and in acting as protector to outside squatters; in both which capacities he has been eminently successful, and with scarcely, if ever coming into unfriendly collision with the native tribes.

He has just returned from the head of Cooper's Creek (the Victoria of Mitchell), where he discovered several tributaries hitherto unexplored, and also obtained traces of the lamented Leichhardt's party, whose fate, either on his outward or inward journey, Mr Walker could undoubtedly solve. Mr Walker has in his employment five or six aboriginal natives from the Murrumbidgee district, who, through all changes of fortune, have remained faithful to him for ten or twelve years, and who have qualities for the work proposed to be done which white men cannot be expected to possess. He has also ten or twelve horses, accustomed to travel and feed together. With the aid of the maps, with which he should be furnished, Mr Walker is quite competent to lay down his route correctly, and to do everything towards making known the geography of the country over which he may pass.

I cannot, of course, absolutely state that Mr Walker would undertake the charge of the expedition if offered to him, but I have no doubt in my own mind that he would; and assuredly, in accepting it, the glory only, and not the reward, would weigh with him. Should the committee determine to seek Mr Walker's co-operation, they should send their communications through the Queensland authorities at Rockhampton, with a request to forward them to Mr Walker, who, if not in Rockhampton, will be heard of at a Mr Dutton's station, in the neighbourhood. And as I observe, by this morning's telegraphic shipping intelligence, that the Rockhampton steamer had arrived in Sydney, I would recommend that a telegram should be sent to Sydney, desiring that Mr Walker should be written to, to hold himself in readiness to receive a proposition from the committee. Under any circumstances, if an expedition is to be sent from the north, measures should be taken, by telegrams to Sydney, to have all the horses ready at Rockhampton for the arrival there of the next steamer, which will be in about three weeks' time from this.

A. MORRIS.
Melbourne Club, July 4,1861.

I forgot, in speaking of the fit-out for the exploring party contemplated, to suggest that it should be supplied with a light spring-cart, with double and single harness,which, besides other uses, would leave a better track than horses, and would be most desirable should sickness befal any of the men. Four well-bred cart horses should be purchased by telegram in Sydney, and sent on by the Rockhampton steamer, which, I believe, leaves on Saturday next, so that they might recover from the voyage by the time of the arrival of the next steamer.

In answer to the Chairman, Commander Norman said he could not carry more than eight horses. He took three to New Zealand, and found that number sufficient: but by making some alterations, he believed he could take five more.

Professor McCoy said the matter had been discussed in committee, and it was found impossible to take more than eight horses. The coal vessel, as he said before, might carry the horses, as very little would be gained by sending them by the Victorla.

In answer to the Chairman, Commander Norman said that the quantity of coal required would depend upon the work to be done. 300 tons would be sufficient to take to Carpentaria, but 500 tons would be required to explore the whole coast.

Professor McCoy said the coal would cost £2,000. The only saving between 300 and 500 tons would be £200, the actual cost of the coal, as the vessel would have to be chartered all the same, so there would be no object in restricting the quantity.

Dr Mueller thought it was right to state that the sub-committee were desirous to advise the most expedient means, without considering the expenditure. The question arose whether it would be necessary, if Mr Morris's proposition was adopted, that natives should start from Port Denison or Rockhampton, that the Victoria should be accompanied by another party. The committee made the recommendation not know- ing at the time the scope of Mr Morris's proposition. It had been suggested that a vessel on its way for India could leave coal in some place on the north coast at a small expense. Although the report of the committee was brought up, some other proposition might be adopted.

Mr S Elliott thought it should at once be decided whether the Victoria should be employed. He found Mr Morris's plan to be so simple, that he thought they should abandon the idea of sending the steamer. He did not see what benefit would be derived, as Mr Burke was not likely to go to that part of the gulf for a steamer. He would most likely make his way to Rockhampton.

Professor McCoy reminded the committee that, although in Mr Morris's proposition it was suggested that Mr Walker should act as leader, there was no proof that that gentleman would be willing to act in that capacity.

Mr Embling thought the question was of so much importance that the committee should adjourn until the following day, when there might be a larger attendance of members.

Professor Neumayer said that if Burke was eastward of the meridian of Albert River, Mr Morris's plan would be the best; but if he was to the west, that plan would be useless, as the search could not be made by a few men so well as with the number Captain Norman would have under his command. If any good was to be done, there should be a thorough search of the whole district.

Dr Wilkie thought they would not be in a position that evening to determine the whole question; but, as Captain Norman had been kind enough to attend, it was important at once to decide with respect to the Victoria. They could pass a resolution strongly recommending the Government to send the Victoria to the Gulf of Carpentaria, in aid of Burke's party. That would have the effect of assisting to satisfy the public mind. Commander Norman had said that three weeks would be required to make preparations; and until the committee had arrived at a resolution, the Government would not take any steps. It was, therefore, a matter of importance to save even one day. The land party would cost £3,500; in opposition to that, the Victoria could be employed to go to Albert River, and search the banks of that river with very little extra expense, as she would only use coal in case of emergency. He thought they were not in a position to expend £3,500 without some pledge from the Government that that sum would be placed on the Estmates for next year.

Professor McCoy seconded the proposition:

That the offer of the Government, to place at the disposal of the committee the services of Captain Norman and the Victoria to go to Carpentaria, should be accepted ; and that a request be made to the Government to prepare the Victoria for the purpose.

Mr Embling thought, if the proposition was agreed to, the committee would be committing themselves to sending the Victoria without considering the other proposition. With that view, he was in favour of twenty-four hours' delay.

The Chairman did not think they should consider money in the first place, but they should adopt every means in their power for rescuing poor Burke and his companions. He thought they should go into the whole subject, because merely sending the Victoria round to the Gulf of Carpentaria would be nothing better than sending a party to Rockhampton. Sending the Victoria alone, without a land party, would be useless.

Mr Ligar thought the committee were bound, after sending Burke into the wilderness, to do everything in their power to assist him, and to get information of him. He was sure, when Burke left that room, that he felt certain no stone would be left unturned to assist him if he was in need of help. He considered they might disencumber the whole matter by asking the Government for the Victoria.

Mr Gillbee thought that a small force would be useless, as Burke's party might be missed, although only a short distance away from that force. Burke had most likely made his way to the coast, and would not venture to leave it unless he was properly supplied. He might have a chance of meeting with a Malay vessel, and go to Timor, or some other place. There was another thing to be considered. Supposing Mr. Walker did take an overland party of blacks, and they were short of provisions, they could not give a supply to Mr. Burke if they met him.

Mr S Elliott was in favour of an adjournment. The amendment was put, and lost.

The first paragraph in the report of the sub-committee was then put, when Commander Norman suggested that even supposing the Victoria was put under orders, those orders could be superseded if any better proposition was adopted. The resolution was then agreed to.

On the motion of Mr Ligar, it was agreed that a deputation, consisting of Dr Wilkie, Dr Mueller, and the hon. secretary, wait upon the Chief Secretary to ask for the Victoria.

Mr Morris said that when writing his memoranda, he was not aware that it was proposed to send a steamer to Albert River. If the Victoria was to go, of course the land party would have very little trouble indeed, as they would not require to take many provisions. Unless a land party was sent, he could not see what possible use the steamer would be. Burke would not remain on the coast, as there would be no fresh water, and the blacks there were hostile, as poor Leichardt experienced; besides, if he lost his camels and horses, he could go through a country where he could get opossums and iguanas. It would be impossible for a rat to go across the track of the blacks without being seen; and if Burke went across their tracks, they would run him down as a bloodhound would. With regard to an observation just made, he might state, that he had been a great deal with blacks, and had found them to be most self-denying. He knew one case where they had lived for a fortnight on five pounds of flour. Mr Walker would require one white man with him, but he would be sure to go. A telegram should be sent to Sydney to be forwarded to Rockhampton, in order to secure his services, and intimating that full instructions would be sent by the next Rockhampton steamer.

Mr Ligar thought Mr Morris's kind offer to communicate with Mr Walker should be accepted.

Mr Gllbee thought by so doing the committee would be entering into an agreement with Mr Walker. They should first decide whether they required that gentleman's services.

Mr Morris said it would not make any dif- ference to Mr Walker which ever way the matter was decided. The telegram would be merely for Mr Walker to hold himself in readiness. Mr Walker was a most extraordinary man – a free lancer, ready at any time. If Burke was in durance amongst the blacks, all that could be done along the sea-coast would be in vain. If he was not, he would most probably make his way to Queensland.

Mr Ligar, in order to do business, said he would move:

That a party be organized to leave Rockhampton for the southern shores of Carpentaria, with the view to assist Burke.

Dr Wilkie did not approve of that resolution, after the resolution in the report of the committee had been adopted.

Mr Morris said, in answer to the chairman, that the expenses would be about £1,000, but the horses could be purchased from the settlers conditionally on the party being formed.

Dr Wilkie thought they should adjourn, and meet on the following day. They could then send a telegram to Sydney. Mr Morris could send a telegram to his friend in Sydney, advising him that an important despatch would be sent to him on Saturday morning. Mr Morris expressed his concurrence in that plan.

On the motion of Mr Ligar, a vote of thanks was passed to Commander Norman and Mr. Morris, for their kindness in attending.

The committee adjourned until the following day at two o'clock.

The following telegram was handed to us for publication:

Adelaide, July 2.

Tracing will be sent per first steamer, showing known permanent waters for 150 miles north of Mount Serle. Water cannot be relied on, but at this season local showers are frequent, and the rain may be seen falling from the clouds for a distance of twenty miles. The route from Cooper's Creek followed by Gregory is, in my opinion, best. A party lately travelled in that direction from Lake Hope, lat. 28 30, lon. 139, which contains an ample supply of fresh water and abundance of fish. They proceeded for several days upon watercourse towards Cooper's Creek. Should Howitt fall in with their tracks, his best plan would be to follow them west and south to Lake Hope, and again south across a narrow area of the lake outside. Cattle stations are numerous about 100 miles north of Mount Serle. The natives are numerous about Lake Hope, and should be watched.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2081/1e: Memorandum from A Morris, Melbourne Club, 4 July 1861 to EC concerning suggestions for the relief of the VEE with a covering letter of the same date. 15p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Howitt dated 4 July 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Chief Secretary [Heales] dated 4 July 1861. 6p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 114. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 4 July 1861, signed by Mueller.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3a, RSV EC minutes and reports of sub-committees, 1861-2, (incomplete and some undated, including August 1862 – December 1862 and Progress Report for 1861. 69 p., ms.

• Item 3 - List of points to be raised with the Chief Secretary [Heales] by the sub-committee of the EC appointed to request the HMcss Victoria be sent to the Gulf of Carpentaria to offer succor to the exploring party. 3 July 1861. 1 p.
• Item 4 - Torn page containing draft of note [sent to Frederick Walker or Captain Mayne] requesting he contact Dr Wilkie of the EC regarding the Victorian Relief Expedition, n.d., c. 4 July 1861. 1 p.

Friday, 5 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee held at the Royal Society hall.
Present: Mueller (in the chair in the unavoidable absence of Stawell), Selwyn, Embling, Gilbee, Wilkie, Macadam and MacKenna.

Wilkie laid before the meeting the results of an interview with the Chief Secretary [Heales] who agreed to sending Norman in the Victoria and Walker overland from Rockhampton.

Macadam read a communication from Neumayer (dated Flagstaff Observatory, 5 July 1861) placing his services at the disposal of the Committee in regards to the search for Burke. Gilbee thought Neumayer's motives were pure and should be appreciated. Wilkie and Stawell concurred.

Macadam read a letter from Mr [Joseph] Scott, keeper of the camels in Royal Park stating that Landells had not cured the camels and had not been allowed to interfere with the in any way. the camels had been cured by the Government veterinary surgeon. Macadam confirmed that the Government veterinary's prescription for curing camels had been given to Dr Wheeler of Howitt's party.

The meeting considered the report recommending sending Walker overland. Wilkie moved the report be accepted, Embling seconded. Mackenna expressed concern that Walker may not be in communication for several months. Gilbee observed that Walker had already been communicated with and Morris informed the Committee that Walker would be home in Queensland within a fortnight.

Mr Orkney placed his steamer, SS Hotham at the disposal of the Committee as he thought it would take too long to send the Victoria to the Gulf. Norman thought the Hotham too small to be of much use. Selwyn proposed and Gilbee seconded the motion that the Victoria be sent to the Gulf as speedily as possible and she should cooperate with Walker's land party from Rockhampton.

Macadam read a letter from Charles Brown suggesting a Montgolfier balloon be employed to ascertain the whereabouts of Burke and his party.

Selwyn, Mueller, Wilkie and Neumayer were appointed a sub-committee to give effect to the foregoing resolution and the meeting closed.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Chief Secretary [Heales] dated 5 July 1861.
• Letter to Mayne, Auditor General, NSW, dated 5 July 1861.
• Telegram to Mayne dated 5 July 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Chief Secretary [Heales] dated 5 July 1861. 8p.
• Letter to Mayne dated 5 July 1861. 5p.
• Copy of telegram dated 5 July 1861. 2p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 116. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 5 July 1861, signed by Stawell.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3a, RSV EC minutes and reports of sub-committees, 1861-2, (incomplete and some undated, including August 1862 – December 1862 and Progress Report for 1861. 69 p., ms.

• Item 5 - Draft of telegram from Macadam to Captain Mayne, 5 July 1861. 1 p.
• Item 6 - Five pages of notes, some torn, detailing EC resolutions regarding the relief parties under Norman, Landsborough and Walker, n.d., c July 1861. 5 p.

Monday, 8 July 1861.
Usual monthly meeting of the Royal Society of Victoria, Governor Barkly in the chair. Dr Mueller moved:

That this meeting records its profound grief in the great loss sustained by the Society in the death of Dr Ludwig Becker, one of its earliest, most enthusiastic, ingenuous, and self-denying members, who with three of his companions, Messrs Patten, Stone and Purcell, sank on the field of honour: and that this meeting manifests its deepest solicitude for the safety and success of Mr Burke, Mr Wills and their brave companions: and that the Royal Society expresses its grateful recognition hitherto rendered by Mr Wright and all the members of the expedition and award its special thanks to Mr Brahe for his admirable maintenance of the depot at Cooper's Creek under most trying circumstances, and for his readiness to cooperate with Mr Howitt in the arduous task of affording relief to the Victorian Expedition.

Mueller then moved:

That the best thanks of this meeting be given to Mr Orkney, the owner of the small vessel the Hotham, for his kindness and promptitude in despatching her to the north coast for the relief of Mr Burke and his party.

The Hon D Wilkie, MLC moved:

That a vote of thanks be also given to the agents of the Steam Navigation Company of Sydney.

Macadam mentioned that he had received Mr Wright's diary. He had also received a telegram from Captain Mayne.

The railway line from Sunbury to Woodend opened for passenger traffic today.

Tuesday, 9 July 1861.
Special meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Barkly, Stawell (chair), Ligar, Mueller, Wilkie, Elliott, MacKenna, Embling, Bleasdale, Iffla and Eades.

Business: To elicit from Professor Neumayer his views on a northern expedition.

Neumayer repeated his offer to proceed to the shores of Carpentaria to search for Burke. A sub-committee were nominated and appointed to ascertain the approximate cost of the expedition as proposed by Neumayer with a view to applying to the Government for the funds.

Wilkie drafted a letter to Mr H Bowden of the Australian Steam Navigation Company to thank him for offering to tow the Hotham to Sydney.

The meeting adjourned to 11 July.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 119. Minutes of the special EC meeting, 9 July 1861, signed by Stawell.

Thursday, 11 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee held at the Royal Society's hall.
Present: Stawell (chair), Wilkie, Ligar, Iffla, Gilbee, Mueller, Bleasdale and Neumayer.

Business: To receive and consider Professor Neumayer's report.

Wilkie read a telegram from Sydney [Mayne?], a letter from Messrs W P White & Co, and a letter from Mr H Bowden. The Committee appointed Dr Wheeler as Howitt's surgeon. The meeting adjourned until tomorrow.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 121. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 11 July 1861, signed by Ligar.

Friday, 12 July 1861.
Age, Monday, 15 July 1861, page 3.
The deputation met with the Chief Secretary [Heales] at his office at noon. Macadam read a telegram from Governor Bowen of Queensland, dated 12 July 1861, advising the Committee that £500 would be voted in aid of the expedition by sea to the Albert River. He also read a telegram from Captain Mayne, NSW Attorney-General, dated 12 July 1861, re: Walker's expedition.

In the afternoon the Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee was held at the Royal Society's hall.
Present: Ligar (chair), Wilkie, Gilbee and MacKenna.

The Committee formed a definitive plan for searching the northern portion of the continent for Burke. Walker is to travel overland and the HMcss Victoria will sail to the Albert.

A deputation was appointed to communicate with the Government in reference to the funds likely to be placed at the disposal of the Exploration Committee for the purpose of seeking traces of Mr Burke and his companions.

The meeting adjourned to the 13 July.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 122. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 12 July 1861.

Saturday, 13 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee, held at the Royal Society's institute.
Present: Stawell (chair), Mueller, Neumayer, Embling, MacKenna, Eades, Gilbee and Macadam. William Wright was in attendance.

Business: To receive the report of the deputation to the Chief Secretary [Heales] and to consider the propriety of carrying out Mr Walker's party.

Macadam tabled a telegram from Bowen, a telegram from Cadell, a letter from Mr Bagot of Adelaide, a letter and tracing of Gregory's route from Mr [Garden?], a despatch from Howitt, a report from Wheeler and a telegram from Captain Mayne. The meeting adjourned to Tuesday, 16 July.

Age, Monday, 15 July 1861, page 3.
A meeting of the Exploration Committee was held at the Royal Society's institute to report on their deputation. Stawell in the chair. Mr William Wright was in attendance. The meeting considered the various proposals for mounting relief expeditions and the funding offered by the governments of Victoria and Queensland. They also read a letter from Mr John T Bagot of Adelaide suggesting an overland party be despatched from Adelaide.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Johnston dated 13 July 1861

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 123. Minutes of the EC meeting, 13 July 1861, signed by Ligar.

Monday, 15 July 1861.
Ordinary meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: McCoy (chair), Eades, Iffla, Gilbee and Macadam.

Business: To hear a report from McPherson [about his trip with Trooper Lyons to Cooper Creek].
[Meeting adjourned to 16 July?]

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2075/1c, RSV EC minute book 1858-61, 1 bound volume, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of the EC meeting, 15 July 1861.

Tuesday, 16 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee held in the Royal Society's hall.
Present: Barkly, Ligar (chair), Mueller, Wilkie, Eades, Neumayer, Gilbee, Bleasdale, MacKenna and Macadam. William Wright was present.

Barkly announced that Governor Bowen had been in communication with him and the Queensland Government were willing to give £500 for an expedition. Barkly said there had been some confusion about the funding of the overland party and he wondered whether Bowen would withdraw the offer when he was informed that Victoria had been in contact with Walker. He had a private letter from Bowen which he passed around the members of the Committee but would not allow to be published.

The secretary read a letter from Captain W C Mayne (Auditor General of New South Wales) in Sydney regarding the cost and supply of horses to Walker at Rockhampton.

Wilkie moved and Mueller seconded that;

1. That, in consideration of the kind offer of His Excellency Sir George Bowen to His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly to place the sum of £500 on the Estimates of the Queensland Government, and to render any assistance in his power in aid of an expedition to bo fitted out in Queensland for the relief of Mr Burke's party, the Hon the Chief Secretary [Heales] be respectfully requested to communicate with Captain Mayne, the Auditor General of New South Wales, who has been already intrusted with the equipment, of a Queensland party, and to solicit his kind co-op era ti on with the Government of Queensland in the organization of the proposed party.

2. That the Government of Victoria and the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society will confidently rely on Captain Mayne adopting, in concert with the Queensland Government, any arrangements as will afford the speediest relief to Mr Burke's party, whether they may have already reached the north coast or may be detained by sickness or any other cause in the northern interior; and for this purpose, it is their desire that the Queensland party should bo sufficiently strong on their arrival at the Albert River to explore the northern interior, should it bo necessary to do so.

3. That, while the Government of Victoria and the Exploration Committee desire to leave the widest discretion to Captain Mayne and the Queensland Government, and also to the leader of the party, they think that the route from the Albert River should be in a south-west direction if the features of the country will permit of it; and that if the means at the command of the party will enable them, they should, if possible, endeavour to intersect Stuart's northern route at some point, as they will thus be able to determine whether Burke's party is north or south of their own route; and that if they are unsuccessful in finding any traces of Burke's party, they should return to the Albert River by a more easterly route.

4. That, in accordance with the express wish of Sir George Bowen, the s SS Victoria will call at Brisbane on her way to the Albert River; and the tender, which will be engaged to carry 200 tons coal to the Gulf of Carpentaria, for the use of the SS Victoria, will also be required to call at Brisbane, if she can be of any use in furthering the objects of the expedition.

5. That a deputation be appointed for the purpose of submitting the foregoing resolutions to the Hon the Chief Secretary [Heales] , and of respectfully soliciting his consent to them.

A lengthy (and animated!) debate occurred where Mueller, Gilbee and Stawell opposed Wilkie's proposal as it gave too much control to Queensland. Macadam moved the decision be postponed until 1.00 pm tomorrow.

Printed slips of Wright's diary were handed round and ordered to be published by the press. Wilkie moved that Wright's salary be paid. Wright stated that he had no written agreement, but Burke had promised him £400 p.a. and if the Committee did not give him that amount, Burke would pay him £100 out of his own pocket. The Committee decided to postpone a decision until tomorrow.

The Secretary read a despatch from Howitt dated Swan Hill, 11 July 1861. The meeting adjourned until 1.00 pm tomorrow.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 124. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 16 July 1861, signed by Ligar.

Wednesday, 17 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting held at the Royal Society's hall.
Present: Ligar (chair) Wilkie, Watson, Iffla, Mueller, Gilbee, Bleasdale and Macadam.

Macadam reported that Mr Spence, the Government storekeeper had confirmed the tender for the conveyance of coals to the Gulf for the HMCSS Victoria had been accepted and that two ships, carrying 130 and 170 tons of coal respectively, would sail from Newcastle not later than the 1st August.

A lengthy discussion took place over Wilkie's resolution tabled yesterday. The resolution was withdrawn and replaced by one proposed by Mueller and seconded by Watson:

That this Committee recommends that the Government be respectfully requested to empower the Queensland Government to organize a party, to be shipped to the Albert River in search, of Mr Burke's party, and to place the necessary funds for that purpose at the disposal of the Queensland Government.

Ligar, Gilbee, Mueller and Macadam were appointed a deputation to lay this resolution before the Chief Secretary [Heales] and the meeting broke up so the deputation could meet with the Chief Secretary {Heales].

The Committee agreed that Wright should be paid £400, £300 as salary and £100 as a bonus. The meeting adjourned to 4.15pm on the 18th.

Age, Thursday, 18 July 1861, p.3.
The gentlemen appointed to confer with the Hon the Chief Secretary [Heales] proceeded forthwith to the Government offices in William-street and were admitted at once to an interview with Mr Heales. The deputation were accompanied by the Hon the Postmaster General, the Hon the Commissioner of Public Works and the Hon the Commissioner of Railways.

After a lengthened conversation over the relative time which a land and sea expedition would require to reach the mouth of the Albert River. Mr Heales said that the proposition of the Committee now was that Mr Walker's party should start as originally constituted and that another land party of eight men should go by sea to the mouth of the Albert River. The cost of the latter expedition was estimated at £2,000, exclusive of the £500 offered by the Queensland government. Mr Heales consented to the arrangements and the deputation withdrew so that some of its members would wait on Sir Henry Barkly to communicate the result of the interview.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 126. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 17 July 1861, signed by Ligar.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Chief Secretary [Heales] dated 17 July 1861. 2p.
• Copy of letter to Barkly dated 17 July 1861. 2p.

Thursday, 18 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee was held at 4.15 pm at the Royal Society's hall.
Present: Ligar (chair), Mueller, Wilkie, Gilbee and MacKenna.

Age, Friday, 19 July 1861, page 4.
The chairman explained the results of yesterday's deputation to see Chief Secretary Heales, where £2,000 was to be placed on the Estimates for the additional land party that was being organised by Mr Gregory [Landsborough's]. Arrangements had been made for a vessel to be chartered to sail to Brisbane within 14 days to convey the land party and horses to the Albert River. The Exploration Committee would take no part in organising this party as it was the responsibility of the Queensland government. The Committee merely had to charter a vessel and see that she was despatched.

Wilkie thought the vessel should be chartered in Brisbane. Gilbee thought it would not do to chance chartering a vessel in Queensland. Gilbee moved that:

Tenders be called for through the Government Store-keeper, both at Sydney and Melbourne, for conveying the following to the Albert River, Gulf of Carpentaria, from Brisbane: eight men, 24 horses, forage and water for the voyage and equipments and stores for 6 months: the vessel to be ready to take in her freight at Brisbane on the 1st August. The registered tonnage of the vessel to b stated in the tender.

Mueller thought that if a vessel were despatched from Melbourne, some of the camels might be sent. An unfavourable opinion was, however, generally expressed to shipping any of the camels, and no action was taken in the matter.

Mueller moved that a sub-committee consisting of himself and Dr Wilkie should consult with Commander Norman and draw instructions for the guidance of Mr Walker. They would also purchase the firearms for the party.

Macadam read a despatch from Howitt dated Swan Hill, 12 July 1861.

Ligar announced the Hotham had arrived safely in Sydney. Mr Orkney had just received a telegram stating the steamer had arrived in Sydney at 2.00 pm that afternoon.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 127. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 18 July 1861.

Friday, 19 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Ligar (chair), Selwyn, Wilkie, Gilbee and MacKenna.

Business: To receive the report of the sub-committee appointed to confer with Captain Norman. The Committee read the report and then adjourned to 1.00 pm on the 20 July.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 129. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 19 July 1861, signed by Gilbee..

Saturday, 20 July 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee, held at 1.00 pm.
Present: Ligar (chair), Wilkie.

Business: To consider the letter of instructions to Mr Walker.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Walker dated 20 July 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Mayne dated 20 July 1861. 2p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 130. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 20 July 1861, signed by Gilbee.

Tuesday, 23 July 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Selwyn (chair), Wilkie, Ligar.

Business: To consider tenders for the conveyance of the party [Landsborough's] from Brisbane to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The tenders were read and discussed and the tender of Messrs Young and Martin of £380 was accepted.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2081/1h: ' Memorandum on the adoption of effectual measures for the relief of the VEE, 23 July 1861.' 7p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 131. Minutes of the EC meeting, 23 July 1861, signed by Gilbee.

Monday, 29 July 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee held at the Royal Society hall.
Present: Gilbee (chair), McCoy, Wilkie, Iffla and Ligar.

A telegram was read from the Commissioner of Police in South Australia regarding the two stray camels which have been secured near Adelaide. The Committee agreed the camels should be placed at the disposal of the South Australian government for their proposed expedition in search of Burke.

Three hours was spent revising the draft instructions to be sent to the leader of the Queensland Expedition now being organised in Brisbane as well as the draft of the letter to Commander Norman with regard to the work assigned to each land party. Norman was to be appointed commander-in-chief of the expedition. Wilkie prepared the drafts.

It is expected the Victoria will be able to leave Hobson's Bay on Thursday.

At the termination of the meeting Wilkie read a telegram which had received it from Macadam who was in Castlemaine. The telegram was from the South Australian Commissioner of Crown Lands:

The brand on one of the camels consists of two straight strokes placed vertically on near shoulder, and on the other the figure 8 placed horizontally behind the near shoulder. The camels are to be sent to Adelaide.

The meeting terminated.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 132. Minutes of the EC meeting, 29 July 1861, signed by Ligar.

SLV MS13071, Box 2081/1f.

• Report of sub-committee on the question of sending the HMCS Victoria to the north coast in aid of the VEE, dated 28 June 1861,  with a letter from Mueller to Wilkie concerning the said report, dated 29 June 1861. 10p.

Tuesday, 30 July 1861.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Landsborough dated 30 July 1861.
• Letter to Moore dated 30 July 1861.
• Letter to Norman dated 30 July 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Moore dated 30 July 1861. 1p.

Friday, 2 August 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Ligar (chair), McCoy, Gilbee, Eades, Wilkie and Bleasdale.

Business: To consider suggestions to be sent to the South Australian government.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Commissioner of Crown Lands dated 2 August 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Commissioner of Crown Lands dated 2 August 1861. 7p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 133. Minutes of the EC meeting, 2 August 1861, signed by Selwyn.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 2 August 1861.

Sunday, 4 August 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Memo from Wilkie dated 4 August 1861. 1p.

Monday, 5 August 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Ligar (chair), Gilbee and Wilkie.

Business: To consider an application from the South Australian government for (4) camels from Royal Park. A reply was sent stating that two or three would be sent to Adelaide per S.S. Oscar. A letter was sent to Dr Will thanking him for offering to take charge of the camels on the voyage.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Dr Wills dated 5 August 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Government Storekeeper dated 5 August 1861, with additional page dated 6 August 1861. 3p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 134. Minutes of the EC meeting, 5 August 1861, signed by Selwyn.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 5 August 1861.

Thursday, 8 August 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee held at the Royal Society hall at 4.15 pm.
Present: Selwyn (chair), Wilkie, MacKenna, Ligar, Gilbee, Eades and McCoy.

Business: To consider despatches from Queensland (Bowen), South Australia, and Howitt.

A communication from Bowen to Barkly was read with regards to the party [Landsborough's] that was about to leave Brisbane for the Albert River. Landsborough was announced as leader.

A despatch from Howitt, dated Tarcoola, 25 July 1861, was read.

Some sketches by the late Dr Becker were received along with the remainder of his journal. The sketches and drawings were ordered to be put in a suitable book with lock and key.

The Chairman read a letter from Dr Beckler, intimating that the writer had forwarded the continuation of his medical report, and also the sketches made by the late lamented Dr Becker, of scenes witnessed by the party during their progress. These sketches, of which there were some fifteen or twenty, were for the most part colored, but some were pen and ink, and others in pencil drawings. They comprised landscapes, portraits of natives, singly and in groups, and sketches of animals, birds, reptiles, and fishes. On the motion of Mr Ligar, an order was ordered to be placed on the minutes expressive of the Committee's appreciation of the artistic beauty and elaborate finish of these pictures.

Some dried plants were received from Dr Beckler. These were forwarded to Dr Mueller for his inspection, with a request that he would report thereon.

Related archive:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 135. Minutes of the EC meeting, 8 August 1861, signed by Stawell, along with an additional sheet showing estimated expenditure for salaries for Walker's expedition.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 8 August 1861.

Saturday, 10 August 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to McPherson dated 10 August 1861.
• Letter to Brahe dated 10 August 1861.

Monday, 12 August 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071 Box 2081/1a: Statement from the Exploration Committee to the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Survey, South Australia concerning the South Australian Relief Expedition. 9p.

Tuesday, 13 August 1861.
Related archives
SLV MS13071 Box 2081/1c: Despatch, Adelaide, 13 August 1861 to David Wilkie concerning the route to be taken by the South Australian Relief Expedition, together with a letter from the Crown Lands and Immigration Office, Adelaide, 12 August 1861 to John Macadam concerning the arrival of two camels on the Oscar and the cost incurred during the passage. 2p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Henry Foster dated 13 August 1861.

Monday, 19 August 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Stawell (chair), Wilkie, Gilbee and McCoy.

Business: To reply to a letter from the Chief Secretary [Heales] regarding Landells' involvement in the relief expeditions.

***
Ordinary meeting of the Royal Society of Victoria.
His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly presiding.

The following contributions were laid on the table ... all the sketches made by the late Dr Becker, carefully preserved and bound, were laid upon the table.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Telegram to Commissioner of Crown Lands, SA, dated 19 Aug 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 136. Minutes of the EC meeting, 19 August 1861, signed by Ligar.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 19 August 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/2, RSV EC account book 1858-1873, page 72.

• William Detmold, Commercial-road, Prahran and 35 Collins-street east (Book binder, paper ruler, and account-book manufacturer).
12 August 1861 Mounting Becker's sketches on cartridge paper, 15/-
17 August 1861 Binding Becker's sketches in Morocco, £2, 5/-

Tuesday, 20 August 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Moore dated 20 August 1861.

Thursday, 22 August 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
As there was no quorum, the meeting was adjourned untill tomorrow.

Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 22 August 1861.

Friday, 23 August 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Ligar (chair), Elliott, Eades and Wilkie.

Business: To receive despatches from Howitt and a letter re:camels, from Dr Beckler. Beckler's notes on plants was forwarded to Mueller and the meteorological observations forwarded to Neumayer.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 137. Minutes of the EC meeting, 23 August 1861, signed by Mueller.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, n.d., c. 23 August 1861.

Saturday, 24 August 1861.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to John Patten (Patten's father) dated 24 August 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Patten’s father dated 24 August 1861. 2p.

Tuesday, 27 August 1861.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071 2081/1b: Despatch, Adelaide, 27 August 1861 to David Wilkie concerning the route taken by the South Australian Relief Expedition under the leadership of John McKinlay, together with a newspaper clipping of the instructions given to McKinlay, Adelaide, 13 August 1861. 3p.


SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Neumayer dated 27 August 1861.
• Letter to Mueller dated 27 August 1861.

Wednesday, 28 August 1861.
The Exploration Committee received a report on botany from Dr Beckler.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2082/5d, Notes on plants by Hermann Beckler.

• Remarks on plants collected on a journey from Pamamaroo Creek to Koorliatto Creek,
4 February - 31 March 1861. 12p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2082/5f, Becker's meteorological observations.

• Meteorological observations made between Pamamaroo Lake to Koorliatto Creek 27 January-1 April 1861, together with a letter from Professor Neumayer, Melbourne, 2 September 1861. 17p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2082/5e, Beckler’s meteorological observations.

• Meteorological observations made at Koorliatto Creek, 6 April - 20 May 1861. 13p.

Thursday, 29 August 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to McFarland & Sons dated 29 August 1861.

Monday, 2 September 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Mueller (chair), Wilkie, McCoy, Ligar, Iffla and Eades.

Business: To consider a despatch from Commander Norman.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Telegram to Commissioner of Crown Lands dated 2 September 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 138. Minutes of the EC meeting, 2 September 1861, signed by Ligar.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 2 September 1861.

Wednesday, 4 September 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Moore dated 4 September 1861.
• Letter to Mayne dated 4 September 1861.

Thursday, 5 September 1861.

The following despatches from Mr Howitt, the leader of the First Contingent Exploration Party, were received yesterday morning, by the Hon Secretary to the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society. They came by post from Euston, to which place they were conveyed by McDonough, a member of Mr Wright's disbanded party.

The despatches show that Mr Howitt and his party left Pamamaroo, which is about twelve miles beyond Menindie, on Wednesday, the 14th August, and was at Bilpa on the 17th, his progress being somewhat impeded by the fact of the horses not being on anything like good terms with the camels. Mr Howitt took with him seven camels and thirty-seven horses, and full stores for five months, with the exception of meat, of which he had been only ablo to dry sufficient for nine weeks.

Read Howitt's despatch dated 13 August 1861 from Pamamroo HERE
Read Howitt's despatch dated 17 August 1861 from Bilpa HERE

These despatches were accompanied by several documents :

A report, from Mr James Knowles, who has been left in charge of the depot, at Pamamaroo camp, states that the number of camels under his charge on the 3rd August was thirteen - six males and seven males [sic]. Three of the males were unfit for work, being severely affected with itch and scab. The other camels were all in good condition. One of the female camels (named Carlo) was within a fortnight of foaling.

A second despatch, written by Mr Howitt on the 13th August from Pamomaroo Creek, states that Smith, a member of the Contingent Party, and two sepoys (Bhotan and Belooch) would be left behind. Williams, who was [?] under Mr Wright, had been engaged to supply Smith's place. Smith had been kicked by a horse. The sepoys were suffering from the remains of a recent attack of scurvy. Smith and Bhotan were to remain at the depot under Mr Knowles. Beloch was to proceed, as soon as able, to Mount Murchison, in search of a missing camel, and return to Melbourne when no longer required.

A despatch from Mr Knowles, dated Menindie Camp, August 20, states that he started Bolooch up the river in quest of the camels that came to Mount Murchison, on the 19th. Bhotan had expressed himself anxious to return to Melbourne, in the event of which Smith would be retained, unless the Exploration Committee ordered othrewise.

A letter from Mr R M Hughes, dated Bogan River Company Station, Fort Bourke, August 7, was also received yesterday by the Exploration Committee. It states:

About nine or ten days ago, a camel was seen by a stockman in our employment, coming in towards the Darling from a NW direction, about a mile or two from the junction of the Bogan with that river.His tracks have since been seen by another of our men, about twenty miles lower down the river, twelve or fourteen miles back. The camel, which is described to me as a very small animal, of an unusually light colour, and in very low condition, has since made up the Darling, and is now, or was yesterday, upon a station called Bunnawarrah, about fifty-five miles from here, belonging to Mr Thomas Danyar, hobbled by that gentleman's stockman.

The camel alluded to is supposed to be the one missing from Menindie.

Monday, 9 September 1861.
1. Meeting of the Royal Society of Victoria:
Ordinary Meeting of the Royal Society of Victoria, Mr C W Ligar in the chair. In consequence of the unfavourable state of the weather, only a very small number of members were in attendance.

Several contributions were laid upon the table including a volume of original sketches by the late Dr Ludwig Becker, naturalist and artist to the Victorian Exploring Expedition, presented by the Exploration Committee.

***
2. Meeting of the Exploration Committee:
Present: Ligar (chair), Wilkie, Gilbee and McCoy.

Business:

  • To consider despatches from Howitt.
  • Mueller's report on the plants collected by Beckler was laid on the table.
  • Neumayer's report on Becker's meteorology was also tabled and the secretary was asked to ascertain the probable cost of carrying out Neumayer's suggestions respecting the field-books of Wills, Becker and Beckler.

Over the weekend despatches were received from Captain Norman of the Victoria and Captain Wyse of the Hotham.

H M's ship Victoria,
Brisbane Heads,
24 August 1861.

Sir,
I do myself the honour to forward a continuation of my report of proceeding since my last of the 18th inst.; and to inform you, for the information of your Committee, that the horses, thirty (30) in number, were safely shipped on board the Firefly on the 21st and 22nd inst., and that in all other respects we are now completed for proceeding with the expedition at once.

I also beg to enclose copies of correspondences with Captain Wyse, relative to the continuance of his voyage to the head of the gulf, and the delivering over arms for the use of Mr Landsborough's party, and in explanation of my decision to state, the Hotham cannot carry any horses without taking her decks up, and then only two. That her draught of water, from all reliable information, would prevent her going near enough to the shore to land them in safety.

I have therefore provided sufficient planks to build a flat punt, and will prepare her on my voyage; and having plenty of boats and men, I have no doubt of my being able to succeed in safely landing the horses.

The Committee is aware that the arms will be required by Mr Landsborough and party immediately they arrive at the Albert; and as others can be procured at Brisbane, if the Hotham should continue her voyage, which I very much doubt, from the crew having all left her, and, I am informed, cannot be replaced here.

Upon written application from the supercargo of the Firefly on behalf of the owners of that vessel, I have authorized an advance in the sum of £10 (ten pounds) on account of her charter party, whioh should be made known to the Government storekeeper, or whoever has the settlement of the charter, in time to be deducted.

I have also, at the request of the master, granted a certificate for the number of days his ship has been detained at this port; and although lus charter party does not express very clearly if he is entitled to demurrage for detention here, I think, in justice to the owners, it should be allowed, as everything that could be has been done by them to forward the service.

I have the honour to be, sir,
Your obedient servant,
W H NORMAN,
Commander, and Commander-in-chief, Northern Expedition.

To the Hon J. Macadam, M.D., Hon Sec, Exploration Committee.

Copies of correspondence in connection with the arms, ammunition, &c, furnished to the Hotham by Exploration Committee ;

Brisbane,
16 August 1861.

Sir,
As the accident to your vessel, the Hotham, will prevent your arrival at the Albert River before the Victoria or Firefly, which was expected by your owner and the Exploration Committee, and the surveyor-general, with myself, having examined the Hotham as to her usefulness to the expedition for the landing of horses in the river, and finding she is not adapted for such service in any way, I do not recommend your continuing the voyage up to the Gulf of Carpentaria for that purpose; but the Exploration Committee having supplied you with a quantity of arms and ammunition, with the understanding they would be handed over to me for the use of the party organized by the colony, I have the honour to request you will be pleased to deliver them to the bearer, who will grant a, receipt in my name for them.

I have the honour to be, &c.,
W H Norman,
Commander-in-chief, N. Expedition.

To Captain Wyse, steamer Hotham.


List of arms, ammunition, &c., provided by tha Exploration Committee, to the steamer Hotham, afterwards delivered over, on demand, to Commander Norman, for the use of the party organized at Brisbane, August 20, 1861:

4 double guns,
2 double guns,
2 breech-loadiug guns,
6 Colt's revolver pistols,
2 Colt's revolver pistols,
6 Colt's revolver pistols,
1 Enfield rifle with sword,
300 Enfield cartridges,
300 breech-loading cartridges,
2 gross wire cartridges,
3,000 double waterproof caps.
1,000 double military caps,
2,000 Colt's military caps,
2,000 pistol cartridges,
1½ dozen shot pouches and straps,
1½ dozen powder flasks,
3 cleansing rods,
1 pocket compass,
3 chamois skins,
3,000 wads,
50 lb gunpowder,
4 bags shot.


Brisbane,
21 August 1861

Sir,
As it is my intention to proceed on my voyage for the sale of my steamer, calling at the Gulf to fulfil my former agreement, and from thence to some port or ports in the Indian seas for the sake of disposing of my vessel, as I cannot do it here, the arms and ammunition, that I received from the Exploring Committee for the protection of my vessel and now to be delivered to you when I left the Gulf, which I have now delivered to you on demanding at Brisbane, as commander-in-chief.

I am now placed in a very critical position for want of fire-arms and ammunition for carrying out my instructions when leaving Melbourne; for I will ask you for a few of thoso same to protect my crew and vessel.

Also, please to let me have something to show the people of Melbourne that I have been stopped on my voyage to the Gulf. By doing so you will confer a favour to me.

I have the honour to be, sir,
Your obedient servant,
Ebenezer Wyse,
Master S.S. Hotham

To: W H Norman, Commander-in chief of expedition.


Memo.
Will Mr Landsborough be good enough to inform me what number of arms he will require for the party under his command?
W H Norman,
Brisbane,
21 August 1861


Reply.
I require, at least, seven carbines and fourteen revolvers, with a good supply of cartridges.
W Landsborough

To Captain Norman.
21 August 1861


Brisbane,
21 August 1861

Sir,

In answer to your letter of this day, stating your intention to continue the voyage to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and thence to some port in the Indian seas, for the purpose of selling your vessel (as you cannot do so here), and asking for some of the arms which were given up yesterday, in obedience to my request, in order to protect your vessel.

I have the honour to inform you that Mr Landsborough, the leader of the party from here, states that he will require the whole of thom on landing, and as they are ordered to be handed over to him on his arrival at the Albert River, where the Exploration Committee expected you would arrive some time before him, I am, therefore, unable to comply with your request without incurring an expenditure, which you are no doubt in a position to do yourself, for the protection of your ship.

I again repeat that for any service to the expedition under my command it is not necessary for the Hotham to go up the Gulf of Carpentaria, and after my long detention here I cannot undertake to supply provisions for her crew. Regretting that your unfortunate accident compelled your return to port after the exertions you made to render assistance until my arrival at the Albert,

I have the honour to be, Etc.,
W H Norman
Commander-in-chief N. Expedition.

To: Captain Wyse, steamer Hotham.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 139. Minutes of the EC meeting, 9 September 1861 signed by Eades.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 9 September 1861.

SLV MS11663, Records of the Royal Society of Victoria.

• Minute book, 1861-2.

Friday, 13 September 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Holdsworth dated 13 September 1861.

Monday, 16 September 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to James Knowles dated 16 September 1861.

Wednesday, 18 September 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Thomas Pain dated 18 September 1861.

Thursday, 19 September 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Eades (chair), Mueller and Wilkie.

Business: To consider sundry accounts, salaries and other claims. The meeting adjourned to 4.00 pm on the 20th.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 140. Minutes of the EC meeting, 19 September 1861, signed by Eades.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 19 September 1861.

Friday, 20 September 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee, when the medal for Dick was inscribed.
Present: Eades (chair), Wilkie, Elliott and McCoy.

Business:

  • Matters postponed from the last meeting.
  • McDonough's salary was ordered to be paid to 6 September, his arrival in town.
  • £5 and a brass medal was presented to Dick, the Aboriginal who brought down tidings of the condition of Trooper Lyons and Saddler McPherson.
Presented to Dick by the Exploration Expedition for assisting Trooper Lyons and Saddler McPherson.
December 1860.

At a meeting of the Exploration Committee, Dr Eades in the chair, the telegrams relating to Burke and Stuart, which were published in The Argus yesterday, were read, and their receipt ordered to be acknowledged. It was considered that no steps could be taken by the Committee until more definite information was obtained, and the Committee therefore separated without further business.

Adelaide,
Sept. 15,1861

To D. E. Wilkie, Esq., Treasurer Relief Expedition.

Police-trooper just in from Blanche Water reports that a black, just come from Lake Hope, had the hair of two white men, and says the white men are much further out than Lake Hope, are naked, have no firearms, sleep on a raft, and live on the fish, they catch with a net made of grass; they have no horse, but the animals, from the black's description, must be camels. I gather that the place at which the white men are is in the south-west channel of tho Barcoo, or one of the new lakes in that direction. The black says that the whites arrived there this winter. The black is willing to go with a party of white men.

On the 12th of this month, Mr McKinlay was 140 miles this side of Blanche Water. The trooper saw him, and gave him this information. McKinlay, with a forced march, can be at the place pointed out by the black in two or three days from this time at the furthest.

The black says that tho blacks are afraid of the whites. The black had given away the hair, but the police are trying to obtain it.

I will send any further news that I may receive.

McKinlay will arrive at the spot indicated to-day (Thursday).

From: Commissioner of Crown Lands of South Australia.


Adelaide,
Sept. 15,1861

To D. E. Wilkie, Esq., Treasurer Relief Expedition.

News just in that Stuart has returned safely to Port Augusta, and has been successful.
No particulars given.
Stuart will arrive here on Sunday morning.

From: Commissioner of Crown Lands of South Australia.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Commissioner of Crown Lands SA, dated 20 Sept 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 141. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 20 September 1861, signed by Eades.

Saturday, 21 September 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Mayne dated 21 September 1861.

Friday, 27 September 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Eades (chair), Wilkie, Iffla, Gilbee.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 142. Minutes of the EC meeting, 27 September 1861, signed by Mueller.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 27 September 1861.

Tuesday, 1 October 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Mayne dated 1 October 1861.

Wednesday, 2 October 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Dr Wills dated 2 October 1861.
• Letter to Harvey MLC dated 2 October 1861.
• Letter to Ligar dated 2 October 1861.
• Letter to Corporal Saunders dated 2 October 1861.

Tuesday, 8 October 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Telegram dated 8 October 1861.

Wednesday, 16 October 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Mueller (chair), Wilkie, Elliott.

A letter was read from the Melbourne Club respecting certain claims on Mr Burke. A reply was sent referring them to Mr Nash as Burke's agent.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Bell, Secretary Melbourne Club dated 16 October 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 143. Minutes of the EC meeting, 16 October 1861, signed by Cadell.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 16 October 1861.

Tuesday, 22 October 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Henry Foster dated 22 October 1861.

Monday, 28 October 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Cadell (chair), Wilkie, McCoy, Elliott and Mueller.

It was agreed to pay the clerk £10 per month.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 144. Minutes of the EC meeting, 28 October 1861, signed by Ligar.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 28 October 1861.

Wednesday, 30 October 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Mueller (chair), Wilkie.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 145. Minutes of the EC meeting, 30 October 1861, signed by Ligar.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 30 October 1861.

Friday, 1 November 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Bell dated 1 November 1861.
• Letter to Captain Cadell dated 1 November 1861.

Saturday, 2 November 1861.
News of the deaths of Burke and Wills reaches Melbourne late in the evening.

Sandhurst Nov 2 1861

Telegram for: the Hon the Post Master General

Bearer of despatches from Howitt - Burke crossed continent - Returned to Cooper's Creek with Wills and King and two camels. Attempted to get into South Australia. Camels knocked up. Compelled to fall back upon the Creek. Burke and Wills died on or about twenty eighth June. King found in a tribe of natives in good health. Left Howitt on his way to Menindie.

William Brahe

Sunday, 3 November 1861.

The Continent Crossed
Death of Burke and Wills - Their remains found

The Argus Office, Sunday morning.
The following despatch has been received from our Sandhurst correspondent:

Sandhurst Nov 2 1861
Mr Brahe of the Exploration Contingent arried here this afternoon from Cooper's Creek.
The remains of Burke and Wills, who both died on the same day from stravation [supposed on or about 28th June] near Cooper's Creek have been found.
Gray, another of the party, also perished.
King is the only survivor.
They had crossed the continent to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
All Burke's books &c. have been saved.

Monday, 4 November 1861.
A Special Meeting of the Exploration Committee was held in the afternoon at the Society's hall for the purpose of considering and ordering upon the despatches received yesterday from Mr Howitt.
Present: Barkly, Mueller (chair), Stawell (arrived late), McCoy, MacKenna, Elliott, Selwyn, Hodgkinson, Ligar, Iffla, Watson, Wilkie, Cadell, Eades, Smith, Macadam and Gilbee.

There was a large number of persons present, and Dr Mueller was voted to the chair in the temporary absence of his Honour W F Stawell. His Excellency the Governor was present throughout the meeting, as also the father of the late Mr Wills, and Mr Brahe of the Victorian Contingent Party.

The Chairman (Mueller) said he had been called upon somewhat unexpectedly to take the chair, and whilst responding to the request it was with the deepest grief that he did so under such deplorable circumstances. Whilst all present shared the interest which must be felt in the great fact which had been ascertained, they must feel with him how truly deplorable it was that at the moment when the great work was completed. Burke and the other noble men with him had been so destroyed. They had to deplore a great loss, but they should show the same spirit of resignation of which the father of Mr Wills had given so fine an example At the same time, the grief could not be the less.

The business of the meeting was to consider and order upon the despatches received from the contingent party. The report of Mr Howitt, who had so well and ably earned out the mission on which he was sent, had already appeared in the columns of the daily press, and so also had the diary of King; therefore it was not necessary to pass through a formal repetition of them. He conceived their business would be to take lasting possession of the documents of those poor explorers who were now no more. As far as he had seen them, the notes appeared to have been written under the most disadvantageous circumstances, and therefore were not in such perfect order as to be immediately promulgated. It would be for the Committee to decide what course should be adopted with reference to them.

Mr Archer suggested that an inventory of the papers should be taken, and that persons should not be allowed to touch them, as they were written in pencil and could therefore be easily defaced.

The Chairman (Mueller) said it had occurred to some of the members of the Committee to trust the transcribing of the notes to a gentleman who would be responsible for them, and who at the same time would do due justice to the writers of them.

Mr Archer thought it was a matter of the most sacred trust to pay particular regard to every line of the notes. He considered a sub-committee should be appointed, for the purpose of seeing that the work was properly done.

Sir Henry Barkly said he understood that the Surveyor-General would allow some gentlemen in his department to assist in getting the papers in order.

Mr Wilson suggested that if they were copied under the supervision of someone connected with the Society the transcript would be useful for all practical purposes.

Mr Dickson, (the secretary) said he thought, with ordinary care, there would be no difficulty in copying Mr Wills's notes, as the writing, although small, was very distinct. Mr Burke writing would require considerable care and attention.

Sir Henry Barkly stated that Mr (Dr) Wills had volunteered his assistance in transcribing his son's notes, and was exceedingly anxious to be present during their transcription. He was sure the Committee would not object to such a proposition (hear, hear).

Mr Ligar (who had just entered the room), in answer to the Chairman (Mueller), said that the maps and diary must be copied together, and that he would be happy to undertake the work of elucidating them as much as possible, he thought it would be better to get the diary fairly copied first, but he would take both documents and try and make something of them.

Professor McCoy proposed formally the suggestion which had been discussed, and mentioned the following names as those of which the Committee should be composed: the Surveyor-General (Ligar); Dr Mueller; Mr (Dr) Wills; Mr James Smith; and Mr Archer, with power to call in additional aid. He would not make further remarks, as they were unnecessary on such a mournful occasion as the present. (Sir William Stawell here entered the hall and took the chair.)

Dr Eades seconded the motion, and thought better names could not have been selected. The Chairman (Stawell) remarked that no time was fixed for the Committee to bring up their report; but as all the members were present he imagined they would commence their duties at once. The motion was then carried.

Sir Henry Barkly thought it would be satisfactory to those present if Mr Brahe would give some explanation of the melancholy affair that had happened, especially with regard to his not finding the traces of Mr Burke; also what steps were taken.

Mr Brahe, who seemed much affected, and spoke in a very low tone, said that on one morning towards the end of May he saw, at the Cooper's Creek depot, different tracks, and the traces of what he supposed to be some of the camels which had strayed; also places where fires had been lighted. The cachettes appeared to have been undisturbed. Had Mr Burke arrived at the depot ten days later than his (Mr Brahe's) departure the soil would have shown signs of having been disturbed, but as he arrived on the same day there was nothing to show that it had been disturbed. He did not attempt to open the cachette thinking the provisions were in it. All he found was a piece of leather that he had previously thrown away. On their way back they opened the cachette, as King told them there were letters deposited in it.

Dr Eades (to Mr Brahe) - You stated when in Melbourne before with Mr Howitt, that on your return to Menindie you fell in with Mr Wright’s party, and that you then returned with him to the camp, and made search to see if anyone had disturbed the plant. Is that right? Mr Brahe - Yes.

Dr Eades - Now, if you searched the place to find if the plant had been disturbed, should we not expect that you satisfied yourselves that it had not been disturbed ? Mr Brahe - Yes.

Mr Sizar Elliott - What search did you make? What was the nature of it? Did you remove the camel and horse dung that was laid over the cachette ? Mr Brahe - We did not like to open the cachette, as it had not been opened by the natives. We were afraid if we opened it that the natives would observe it and open it afterwards.

The Chairman (Stawell) - Was there any alteration in your marks on the trees ? Mr Brahe - No, none whatever.

Mr Sizar Elliott - When you covered up the plant you threw the manure from the camels and horses over it;-did Mr Burke do the same thing when he opened the cachette ? Mr Brahe - He did; I pointed that out to Mr Wright. The Chairman suggested that the same feeling would actuate all parties.

Mr Ligar, (to Mr Brahe) - I see in one of the letters that Mr Wills accuses you of leaving the place without authority to do so. Mr Brahe - I stated last when last before the Committee what my instructions were-namely, to remain at Cooper's Creek for three months. Mr Burke said he should be that time away exactly. I remained four months and a week. I had with me a most useful man-Patten-to whom I repeated Mr Burke's instructions. Patton was ill and he had a good right to expect to be removed when that time expired.

Professor McCoy thought it was desirable that no wrong impression should go abroad. As far as he recollected, when Mr Brahe was last before the Committee he stated that he remained at Cooper’s Creek a month beyond his time, and his reason for leaving then was that he had only enough food left for him to go down to Menindie, after leaving some behind him. He mentioned that in fairness to Mr Brahe, as on a former occasion the Committee thought it was sufficient.

Mr Elliott said he differed with Professor McCoy. Mr Brahe said he was told by Mr Burke to wait three months, and that then Mr Wills asked him to remain four months. How long after had he remained? One week only. That did not show any great spirit of endurance. He thought there was a large amount of blame attached to Mr Brahe for leaving so soon. He certainly waited the full amount of his time, but only one week beyond it.

Mr Brahe knew when he left that he would have to leave the party to search for water, and would perhaps have to make his way to the Darling.

By Mr Selwyn - When I returned with Mr Wright, we had plenty of provisions, but we did not take any to leave at Cooper's Creek.

Mr Elliott - The Committee would remark that those men who had a large amount of strength had plenty of food, but very little was taken for those who were weak. Mr Brahe - Mr Burke told me that he was bound to be back in three months' time, and he agreed with me that if not back by that time he would be on his way to Queensland. It was my impression that I should hear of his being there when I returned to Menindie.

Mr James Smith thought Mr Brahe was right; for had he remained, and one or two deaths had occurred, he would have been blamed.

Mr Elliott said that they looked upon Mr Wills as being the cautious man. They knew that Mr Burke was determined to go through at any rate. But it was the cautious man of the party who mentioned four months as the time. Mr MacKenna did not agree with such remarks being made. Mr Elliott - We thought so at any rate.

Dr Mueller remarked that under the circumstances in which Mr Brahe and the men were placed, and the likelihood of Mr Burke going into the settled districts, he had only acted from a desire to preserve the lives of the men under his charge.

Sir Henry Barkly thought there would be no advantage in pursuing that inquiry further and he considered that every allowance should be made for a person in Mr Brahe's place.

Mr Elliott thought the next matter to be decided was whether Mr Howitt's party should be broken up or not. He trusted before it was broken up that steps should be taken that the remains of the unfortunate men who had died in the cause of exploration would be brought into Melbourne. There would be no difficulty in accomplishing that, as there was such a strong party.

The Chairman (Stawell) said that the proposition was of some importance, as Mr Howitt in the last paragraph of his despatch had asked for instructions.

Mr Ligar thought there was one point to be borne in mind, namely, that Mr Howitt might be the means of succouring any parties who, on finding traces of Mr Burke at Albert River, might follow in his track. He thought it was most desirable that some means should be taken to establish a depot. The party could be kept in constant exercise, and could wait reasonable time. He might remark that there appeared to be a great number of persons in the district around Cooper's Creek since Mr Burke had been there, and that, therefore, it would be better to have a depot there in case of assistance being needed.

Professor McCoy thought one of the worst points of the journey was near Cooper's Creek, and it would therefore be well to render that more ease of access. There appeared to be a well grassed country there, but a bad track to it. Mr Ligar wished to call attention to the good conduct of the blacks. They had behaved most hospitably to King, and ho thought that, by showing how their conduct was appreciated, many useful lives might be saved at some future time. He had been much pleased with what Mr Howitt had done, but his means were ridiculously small in comparison to the object in view.

Dr Mueller thought it was highly desirable to avail themselves of the means at Mr Howitt's disposal.

The Chairman (Stawell) thought some instructions should be given to Mr Howitt, who had proved himself to be a most sagacious and able leader, and who had expressed himself willing to continue his leadership or return. He thought they would do the greatest honour to a good leader by making the best use of him. If a new party were organized, there would be a great cost incurred, whereas the greatest loss had already been sustained. They all knew that surplus stores were generally disposed of at a loss.

Mr Ligar thought they should retain Mr Howitt until the arrival of the Victoria, as there might be another party in distress.

Professor McCoy said, with regard to the expense, that if the Victoria was recalled, and Mr Walker's party also, a large sum would be saved towards defraying the cost of some very useful work. Mr Howitt was not a man to put the lives of his party in danger, but he was at the same time a man of great energy and courage, and swift where it was good to be swift. He considered the object of exploring would be helped by keeping Mr Howitt in the district to succour any persons who might arrive there, and also to give the greatest advantage to the labours of poor Mr Burke and his party, by completing our knowledge of the really difficult part of their route.

Mr Jas Smith moved:

That Mr Howitt be instructed to proceed to Cooper's Creek, and establish a depot there till the spring, but that he refrain from so doing if he imperil the lives of himself or his party, or if he cannot secure their retreat to the settled districts when needed. The motion was seconded.

The Chairman (Stawell) thought that that was affirming a question before the report of the sub-committee was brought up.

Mr Wilson said that although not a member of the Exploration Committee, he hoped the chairman would excuse his making a remark upon a subject just now attracting so much attention, he wished to ask whether the result of our experience had not been to teach us to doubt whether the route by Menindie was the best route to Cooper's Creek. And before sending off Mr Howitt on an expedition which had already been fatal to several men, it was only right to consider whether some better starting point might not be selected. Before he left for England he had assisted at one or two Committee meetings on this subject, and he had urged then, as he urged still, that the first step in the exploration of the interior should be the establishment of a permanent central depot at Cooper's Creek. But the route to this should be carefully considered, and should be followed up so systematically that it might become, so to speak, macadamised. The Committee should not forget that, deeply as we had to deplore the deaths just announced, deaths still more numerous had occurred on the very ground upon which they were just, about to send Mr Howitt. Indeed, to the difficulties between Menindie and Cooper's Creek were to be attributed all their misfortunes, for if Mr Wright had got through, Mr Brahe would have been so far reinforced that he could have waited for Mr Burke. Was not the best route that from the out stations of South Australia? They should study well the route taken by Mr McKinlay and that recommended by Captain Cadell, to see whether either would not be safer than the present one. His own opinion was, that Cooper's Creek should be developed as a great central depot, as it was capable of supporting a sufficient number of sheep or goats to prevent an event similar to that they had met that day to consider. So far from recalling Mr Howitt, he would be glad to see him despatched to establish, a depot at Cooper's Creek, but at the same time let the best route be selected for permanent adoption. Every credit was due to Mr Howitt, but he did not know whether he should be left entirely to him to push on to dangers which might give them something more to grieve over than they yet had. What he wished to urge then was, that before sending Mr Howitt over a route which was directly the death of some, and indirectly the death of others - as if Mr Wright's expedition had prospered, Mr Burke would now be amongst them - they ought to determine whether the route by Menindie was the best that could be decided upon.

Captain Cadell approved of the suggestion of Mr Wilson, and said he should be happy to give the sub-committee all the information he could for Mr Howitt to reach Cooper's Creek through a country in which several creeks had been found. He could not mention the line of country then, as he was not at liberty to do so. He quite agreed with Mr Wilson that Cooper's Creek might be made a central depot.

Mr Gilbee thought that Howitt's track was already known, and that Howitt know where to find water. Any fresh route might be attended with great difficulties.

The Chairman (Stawell) did not agree with Mr Gilbee, as he considered when they had such an effective leader as Mr Howitt, they should carry out the business of exploration as much on possible.

Sir Henry Barkly said a suggestion had occurred to him with which he thought they would all agree, It was that the late expedition should always be called "The Burke and Wills Exploring Expedition" (hear, hear).

Mr Smith proposed that a sub-committee should be formed, of Captain Cadell, The Surveyor-General, Dr Mueller, Professor' McCoy, Mr Selwyn, and the Hon Secretary (Macadam), to draw up instructions for Mr Howitt's guidance. The motion was carried.

Some conversation ensued as to the recall of Commander Norman, of the Victoria, and it was arranged that a telegram should be sent to Captain Mayne, asking him to communicate with Commander Norman as soon as possible. Dr Wilkie announced that a telegram had been received from the Commissioner of Lands in Adelaide, inquiring as to the truth of the report, that one of Mr Howitt’s party had returned. It was agreed that a reply should be sent.

The Committee adjourned till Wednesday at five o'clock.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 147. Minutes of the EC meeting 5 [sic] November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 5 [sic] November 1861 (two copies on seperate pages).

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 5 [sic] November 1861.

Tuesday, 5 November 1861.
The sub-committee appointed to transcribe the field-books of Burke and Wills met in the morning.

***
Parliament: Legislative Assembly, Tuesday 5 November 1861.
[Argus, Wednesday 6 November 1861: 4]

Mr O'Shanassy moved a resolution expressive of the regret of the House at learning the fate of the leaders of the Victorian Expedition, and in favour of a public funeral when the remains of Burke and Wills were brought to Melbourne, and the erection a monument to their memory. Such a record was due to the memory of these patient, toiling, and enduring men, the simple record of whose fate must deeply affect all who read. it. Mr Heales seconded the resolution.

Wednesday, 6 November 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee, held at 5.00 pm.
Present: Stawell (chair), Ligar, Selwyn, McCoy, Wilkie, Mueller, MacKenna, Elliott and Gilbee.

The Adjourned Committee Meeting was not as well attended as Monday's meeting. The Chairman called on the several members of the sub-committee to read the parts of Wills journal prepared by them. The Age reported the diaries kept by Mr Wills and the memoranda of Mr Burke, which had been transcribed since the previous meeting, were submitted. "These documents contain full and interesting particulars of the journey across the continent to Carpentaria, but it is vexing that the details of the last day’s journey, when the Albert River was struck, are not contained in the journals."

Dr Mueller read Wills' diary of the journey from Cooper Creek to Carpentaria and then, the document having been read Dr Mueller took it away for the purpose of publication. Archer then read the second and third parts of the diary. The second part of the diary had been transcribed by James Smith, but he was not present so it was read by Archer.

The Surveyor-General, Charles Whybrow Ligar (1811-1881), produced a tracing of the route to Carpentaria At some stage Ligar added a note to margin of Mueller’s transcription stating; "The omissions in the diary are supplied by the information contained in the maps - with the exception of the last two days on the shore of the Gulf."

McCoy moved that the gentlemen of the sub-committee be thanked for preparing the documents and in order that the originals be handled as little as possible by anyone not requiring them for the purposes of verifying the transcriptions he requested the sub-committee take charge of them until a complete record be made of the Expedition. This was seconded by Wilkie and unanimously agreed to.

Macadam made a note in the margin of the minutes, "Records deposited in the safe of the Surveyor-General." Ligar’s safe was at the Assay Office.

Related archives: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 148. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 6 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 6 November 1861.

Thursday, 7 November 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee held at 1.00 pm at the Crown Lands Office.
Present: Ligar (chair), Selwyn, Gilbee, Mueller, Smith, Eades and Wilkie.

At 11.00 am a deputation from the Committee consisiting of Ligar, Mueller, Selwyn and Wilkie, waited on the Hon Chief Secretary with a view to ascertain the Government's view on extending the services of Mr Howitt in order to convey the remains of Burke and Wills to Melbourne for burial.

The Committee met at 1.00 pm at the office of the Surveyor General (Crown Lands Office, La Trobe-street west), Ligar in the chair.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Dispatches sent to Howitt by the RSV EC, Box 2085/5a (1):
Dispatches sent to Howitt, dated Melbourne 7 November 1861. 9p.

• Copy of dispatches sent to Howitt by Ligar dated 7 November 1861. 9 p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Howitt dated 7 November 1861, signed by Ligar.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of adjourned EC meeting, 7 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 150. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 7 November 1861.

Friday, 8 November 1861.
Chief Secretary Heales announces in the Legislative Assembly that a Commission of Enquiry into the deaths of Burke and Wills would be held, and that the board would consist of three men not connected to the Royal Society of Victoria.

Related archive: SLV MS13071 2084/3f: Letter from Colonial Secretary’s Office, Sydney, dated 8 November 1861 to the EC concerning the disposal of a camel found on Ginge Station, Barwon River. With note by J Moore, Under Secretary dated 22 November 1861 and copies of letters from Dangar and Wee Waa Police. 5p. ms.

Monday, 11 November 1861.
Ordinary meeting of the Royal Society, His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly in the chair.

Several objects of interest, collected and preserved by the late Dr Ludwig Becker, were produced by order of the Exploration Committee. Two stones, similar to those used by the natives of the interior for grinding nardoo, were likewise exhibited.

Mr Gilbee brought forward a motion to solicit the Government for the grant of the triangular piece of land in Spring-street, fronting the National Schools, as a site for a monument to the lamented explorers, Burke and Wills. Mr Ligar suggested that it would better to leave this matter entirely in the hands of the Government. Dr Macadam announced that the Government contemplated appropriating £2,000 for a monument to Burke and Wills, to be erected either in Fitzroy Gardens, Carlton Gardons, the Royal Park (from which the Exploring Expedition started), or the site mentioned by Mr Gilbee; and that Mr Summers had been employed to prepare designs.

Dr Macadam also expressed his regret that attacks should have been made in the press on the Exploration Committee, without waiting for the result of the inquiry to be instituted by the dependent tribunal appointed by the Chief Secretary, at the instance of Mr Ligar. The Rev J J Bleasdale followed with observations to same effect. The discussion terminated in withdrawal of Mr Gilbee's motion.

Related archives:
SLV MS11663, Records of the Royal Society of Victoria.

• Minute book, 1861-2.

Wednesday, 13 November 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: McCoy (chair), Gilbee, Mueller, Wilkie, Ligar and Cadell.

The Chairman read a letter from Mr Gregory, of Queensland, dated Brisbane, 30 October, and enclosing papers relative to the equipment of the exploring party (Landsborough's) proceeding to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The letter added that, by the time of writing, the land party ought to be well on their way into the south western interior, but they were not expected in Queensland before March.

Despatches to Captain Norman.
The Chairman read a telegram from Mr Gregory.

The remains of Burke and Wills.
Mr Gilbee expressed the opinion that there was a general desire that the remains not only of Burke and Wills, but also of Dr Becker and the other members of the Exploring Expedition who had perished in Central Australia, should be brought down to Melbourne. He believed that it would be more satisfactory to the friends and relatives of the parties deceased, that no distinctioin should be made, and that all who had died in the cause of exploration should have honour done to them.

He was also of opinion that, as a Government inquiry was about to be instituted the presence of King would be required by that Commission and therefore it would be necessary that Mr Howitt should be instructed to send down King at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mr Gilbee concluded by moving that supplementary instructions, embodying the views just mentioned, should be forwarded to Mr Howitt. Captain Cadell seconded the motion.

Dr Wills, who was present, expressed the hope that, in the matter of internment, the remains of his son would not be mixed up with those of any other person save Burke.

The Chairman observed that the only duty in connexion with this sad matter which devolved upon the Committee was that of bringing the remains to Melbourne, Mr Howitt would of course take proper precautions to keep the remains separate. The motion was then agreed to.

The Secretary read a letter from Mr Brahe. Read the letter HERE.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 151. Minutes of the EC meeting, 13 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 13 November 1861.

Thursday, 14 November 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee [to draw up the instructions to Howitt] held at the Crown Lands Office.
Present: Ligar and Cadell.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Dispatches sent to Howitt by the RSV EC, Box 2085/5a (2):
Dispatches sent to Howitt, dated Melbourne 14 November 1861. 5p.

• Dispatches sent to Howitt by Ligar dated 14 November 1861. 5 p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter dated 14 November 1861.
• Letter to Howitt dated 14 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of adjourned EC meeting, 14 November 1861.

14 November 1861 - John O'Shanassy appointed as Chief Secretary (his third term), replacing the Heales Ministry (to 27 June 1863).

Monday, 18 November 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Edward Paiels ? dated 18 November 1861.
• Letter to Ballinger dated 18 November 1861.
• Letter to Newbound dated 18 November 1861.

Tuesday, 19 November 1862??? - Meeting of the Exploration Committee [here a sub-committee was nominated to co-operate with Mr Howitt in making the arrangements to outfit a party.]

Wednesday, 20 November 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Mayne dated 20 November 1861.

Thursday, 21 November 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee held in the hall of the Royal Society of Victoria.
Present: Ligar (chair), Wilkie, Gilbee, Cadell, Mueller, McCoy and Macadam.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 154. Minutes of the EC meeting, 21 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 21 November 1861.

Friday, 22 November 1861.
The Commission of Enquiry sat for the first day's evidence.

Monday, 25 November 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Ligar (chair), Smith, Wilkie, Gilbee, Eades and Macadam.

---
The Arrival of King in Melbourne - The Age.
Mr John King, the sole survivor of that section of the late Burke and Wills exploring expedition which crossed the Australian continent from sea to sea, the one man, in fact, who has achieved the exploit, and, in all probability, the only human being who has ever accomplished it - for the aborigines, we know, are not accustomed to travel beyond their own districts or hunting grounds - arrived in Melbourne last evening by the train which reached Woodend at six o'clock.

That the return to any community of such a man under such circumstances should have awakened throughout the entire people an universal outburst of enthusiastic gratification, was no more than must have been anticipated on all hands. Both personally and from his association with the illustrious leaders, whose untimely deaths have formed the exclusive theme of conversation ever since they have been made known to us, the arrival of Mr King could not fail to be a source of the deepest interest to every reflecting mind. The man who had watched the other two survivors of this great enterprise pining to death in the wilderness, who had actually witnessed the last moments of one, and undismayed by the awful spectacle preserved so far his constancy of mind and firmness of purpose as to have at once, when human assistance could no longer be of any avail, started through the desert solitude to render succour where succour had ceased to be possible, could not fail to waken the strongest interest even in the most callous heart. We were, therefore, prepared to witness a strong desire on the part of the public to welcome one who had but recently undergone such terrible experiences, but we certainly did not anticipate such a delirium of pleasure and excitement as greeted Mr King yesterday afternoon.

Considerably prior to the hour at which the train was expected to arrive, numbers of persons in vehicles and on foot might be seen progressing from all directions to the grand centre of attraction - the government railway station in Spencer-street. Both the police authorities, and all other parties officially interested in the event which was about to take place, seemed, as is but frequently the case on occasions of the kind, to have under estimated the amount of preparation requisite for the maintenance of good order, and the protection of the favorite of the people from the effects of their too vehement and demonstrative friendship. We mention this circumstance in no unfriendly spirit, but merely as the recollection of it may possibly, at a future time, serve to induce more careful preparations, as, in such cases, if error is to occur, it had much better be on the safe side.

At its appointed hour the train was seen approaching, and then the eagerness of the assembled multitude surpassed all bounds. From the very verge of the platform, the people lent over to catch a glimpse of the carriages, and when it was perceived that they were about to stop much further down than had been anticipated by the Committee, a violent rush towards the further end of the platform ensued. The train was decorated with flags, amongst which the Union Jack, the fitting shroud in which the remains of Burke and Wills were consigned to their temporary resting place in the solitary wilds of the far interior, fluttered from the engine.

Of course it was soon known amongst the multitude which carriage contained the object of universal solicitude, and around its doorway the people instantly thronged in a compact mass, through which there seemed no possibility of forcing a passage. A solitary cab had made its way close to the platform at this focus of the commotion, and into it by some means Mr King was hurried, with the kindest intentions, indeed, but, nevertheless, with a violence and roughness which, to a person in his enfeebled condition, could not certainly prove beneficial, and might have been attended with very injurious consequences. Throughout the whole of this period the assembled crowd continued to cheer vehemently and almost uninterruptedly, and did not refrain from doing so until the conveyance into which Mr King had been impelled started on its way towards the town. In the meantime a rush had been made upon the cab itself by a crowd of persons desirous of enjoying the honor of riding in the company of the lion of the day. Several of them contrived to secure places on the conveyance, and even after it was actually in motion men endeavored to grasp and cling to every portion of the vehicle, at the imminent risk of personal injuries. Then the whole course of spectators poured out in a confused stream from the various entrances of the station, running or walking, more or less rapidly, but all tending more or less in the direction in which the object of their interest and solicitude had disappeared.

We should here mention, as indeed may have been inferred from a previous statement, it it was the intention of the Exploration Committee that Mr King should be conveyed on his arrival direct to the Royal Society's Institution. The cab, however, on leaving the railway station, took the direction of the Londsdale-street, where, it is said, by the direction of Dr Wills, it was driven into the enclosure surrounding the Government offices. In this enclosure a large concourse of spectators had assembled, and was being momentarily augmented by fresh arrivals.

Just as the vehicle made its way in on this side his Excellency had passed out on horse-back, through the gate into William-street, proceeding apparently towards home. A burst of cheering from the people in the enclosures announced Mr King's arrival, and the next instant his Excellency's orderly rode up to him, and made some verbal communication. His Excellency immediately turned back, and rode rapidly up to the entrance of the Government House. But even there the crowd had anticipated him, and already the staircases and landing were thronged to excess with anxious spectators. His Excellency, however, made his way, not without difficulty, to the Chief Secretary's room, to which Mr King had been previously introduced. In the meantime, a sister of Mr King had arrived, and after much trouble an entrance to the apartment in which her brother was awaiting her arrival was procured for her, owing in a great measure to the exertions of Sir William Don. A short interval having been allowed for a private interview between the reunited relatives, his Excellency entered the apartment, and approaching Mr King shook him warmly by the hand. Mr King and his sister having risen from their chairs on his Excellency's entrance, his Excellency requested them to be seated, and the following conversation ensued:

His Excellency : I congratulate you on your safe return to Melbourne. Do not stand to receive me, for you are rather weak. Has your health quite recovered ? - King: Yes, sir.
His Excellency : I suppose you were in a very reduced state when you were at Cooper's Creek with the blacks? - King : Yes, sir.
His Excellency (to King's sister, with whom he also shook hands): Where is your brother going to stay? - Miss King : With me at a friend's house in St. Kilda.
His Excellency: I suppose the better way would be to let him have a few days of perfect quiet. You will, at any rate, I hope, leave your address with me? - Miss King replied that she would do so; and Dr Wills, who was present, took down the address in writing, and handed it to his Excellency.
His Excellency: You were in India, I believe? - King: Yes, Sir.
His Excellency : What where you there, may I ask? - King : A. soldier, sir.
His Excellency : I wish you a good afternoon. I am glad to see you safe back, and in a few days I have no doubt you will be able to face all the receptions awaiting you.

His Excellency then withdrew, but returned in a moment, accompanied by his Worship the Mayor, whom he introduced to Mr King. The Mayor having heartily shaken Mr King's hand, said: I have much pleasure in welcoming you back to Melbourne. I do so not only on my own part, but on that of the corporation and citizens generally. The corporation will take an early opportunity of presenting an address to you, congratulating you on your safe return. His Worship then withdrew.

In the meanwhile the excitement and impatience of the crowd to obtain a view of Mr King had grown beyond all control, and cries were constantly raised for his appearance at the windows or the summit of the entrance porch. After some delay, as it had become apparent that Mr King could not be got out of the building by any means, until the public curiosity had been in some measure gratified, he was assisted by Dr Macadam and Mr Selwyn on to the top of the porch, his sister accompanying him. His appearance was greeted by tumults of applause, and many persons called upon him to address some observations to the concourse of spectators below. This, however, the gentlemen who surrounded him stated to be impossible, owing to Mr King's extreme debility. The truthfulness of this statement was but too apparent to those who had the opportunity of a near view of the gallant explorer. He seemed quite unable to walk without assistance, and the contrast between his resolute, sunburnt, and weather-beaten features, and his feeble gait, was very striking, and, taken in connection with his recent history, touching in the extreme. Mr King is now staying with his sister at St. Kilda, whither he was driven in Sir William Don's carriage by the owner, and accompanied by his Worship the Mayor.

The following letter has been addressed by Mr Wright to the Editor of Bell's Life in Adelaide:

Sir,
Having heard of the article in your paper condemning Mr Brahe and Mr Wright in the late expedition of poor Mr Burke, I beg leave to submit the following statement to you:

I was employed by the Victorian government to follow Mr Burke to Cooper's Creek, carrying stores, &c. Even at the outset, we were in want of wholesome water, which, I believe, produced scurvy, as the water we obtained in several places was very impure, it being the middle of summer. I reached Bulla, sixty miles from Cooper's Creek, to the eastward. During the time three men died from scurvy. I was unable to proceed farther, as the party were so reduced - three dead out of eight, and two unfit for duty. Those who remained capable of duty were Dr Becker, Mr Hodgkinson, and myself.

Mr Brahe met me on his way to the Darling; he had two invalids with him at the time; one of them died with me on our return his name was Petton; the other (on my return from Cooper's Creek), by name McDonough, was so weak that he fainted twice on the morning we started on our return journey; he had to be lifted on and off his horse night and morning. The two Hindoos we had with us as drivers of the camels were also suffering very much from scurvy, and in a completely exhausted state; we also lost, by death from scurvy and exhaustion - Charles Stone first, the cook second, and Mr Becker, the geologist, the third. The illness of those parties prevented me from moving on those men who belonged to my camp.

When Mr Brahe came I joined with his party; he placed himself under my orders. I moved my camp twenty miles the next day down the creek to the south-west, which very much exhausted the invalids. The next day, I took Brahe, leaving the camp in charge of Dr Beckler, and visited the old depot at Cooper's Creek. The very day, Mr Brahe left Cooper's Creek, before I met him, according to the dates, was the same day Mr Burke arrived there. On our arrival at the old depot, I told Mr Brahe to take particular notice if the place was, in the same condition where the stores were buried by him, and he said the ground had not been disturbed since he had left, and the only alteration, he observed was that an empty camel trunk had been disturbed from the position he left it in. I could see there had been a fire in front of the depot, and I drew Mr Brahe's attention to it, and he stated that he never had a fire there and I supposed it to be the work of some blacks, as there were no evidences, from the usual and proper marks, that any white men had been there.

I then immediately returned with Mr Brahe to my own depot, to see how things were getting on. I found the invalids were getting worse every day. I stated my anxiety to the doctor to proceed to Cooper's Creek a second time; he said to me, 'You cannot proceed without endangering the lives of the men under your charge; you know your own responsibility - if you do return those men will surely die - it is now life for life.' I saw he was correct. 'If you start for the Darling those men's lives may be saved, but if you procced according to your own wish, they will be certainly sacrificed.' Had Mr King and Mr Wills, as they themselves expressed their wish, proceeded up the creek with Mr Burke, instead of endeavoring to penetrate in South Australia, they would have met me and Mr Brahe with necessaries for them, and the lives of two gallant men, Mr Burke and Mr Wills, would have been saved.

I trust that the papers will publish this, in justice to myself and Mr Brahe, as we both exerted ourselves to the best of our abilities; and, as I am about to proceed up the country, I wish to leave the true statement before the public.
W Wright
Adelaide, November 14.

PS. Mr Burke having found the letter of Mr Brahe at Cooper's Creek, which was buried with the stores, if he could not overtake Mr Brahe, there was every chance of his falling in with me.
W Wright.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 156. Minutes of the EC meeting, 25 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 25 November 1861.

Tuesday, 26 November 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Wilkie (chair), Eades, Iffla, Gilbee, Macadam and Ligar. Welch and Phillips were also present.

Business: To consider correspondence and also to discuss the arrival of John King in Melbourne.
[Wilkie and Macadam at odds over Dr Wills' behaviour at North Melbourne train station during the reception of King].

A meeting of the Exploration Committee was held in the afternoon at the Hall of the Royal Society, Victoria-street. Dr Wilkie was in the chair, there being present Dr Eades, Mr lffla, Mr Ligar, Mr Gilbee, and Dr Macadam. Messrs Welch and Phillips of the Contingent Party, and Mr Brahe, were in attendance.

Dr Eades stated that he had that afternoon visited King at St Kilda, and found he was getting on well. All he wanted was to be kept quiet, but he felt that he had a duty to perform namely, to see the Committee as soon as possible. He (Dr Eades) found that King required very different management from that which had been shown, as he was in a great state of excitement. For instance, King had that morning read the leading article in the Argus newspaper, and regretted that such things should have been said of him. He (Dr Eades) explained to him that he and the public looked upon the article in question to mean that King should not be made a subject of speculation. King feared he was accused of wishing to be made a subject of speculation, but at last he was convinced such was not the intention of the article.

[The article was:

For the sake of King, and for the credit of the community, it is to be hoped that no immediate transports will be indulged in on his return, and that the popular tendencies to hero worship will be restrained within reasonable bounds.

To make him the object of frantic enthusiasm one day, and to remit him to obscurity and neglect a month hence, is very likely to be the course pursued by our fickle and impulsive populace. Let us testify the satisfaction with which we witness his return, and our admiration of the zeal and fidelity with which he served the leader of the Expedition, as well as of the tact and judgement which he displayed in his dealings with the blacks, let us confer upon him a substantial and durable reward, but do not let us make him the theme of hyperbolical praise, and the subject of the same ovation which we should have awarded to Burke and Wills, if, happily, they had survived to enjoy the honours they had earned. We deprecate such a violent effervescence of public feeling, quite as much in the interest of King as out of regard for the reputation of our fellow-citizens; and we shall not be suspected of undervaluing his desert when we point out why he should be spared a preposterous glorification. A broad distinction should be drawn between moral heroism and physical endurance.

That King is a brave man, we do not doubt; that he was loyal to his chief, faithful to his comrades, and fertile in resources when assailed by the horrors of solitude and starvation, is indisputable; but he seems to have owed his preservation to that tenacity of life which characterises some constitutions, and which is not a moral quality, but a physical accident. On the other hand, it is not improbable that the death of Burke and Wills was accelerated by the activity of their minds, by the incessant play of their emotions, by disappointment, depression, and despair. These corrode the principle of life, poison its very sap, and break down the frame of the strong man more effectually than privation or excessive toil. The "sword wears out its scabbard," and the finer its edge - or, in other words, the more delicate the moral and mental mechanism of a man's nature, the more rapidly and fatally would intense emotion operate upon a body emaciated by hunger and debilitated by strenuous and sustained effort. Hence we should be careful to distinguish between the moral courage of Burke and the physical undergoing power of King, so as to avoid the error of awarding extravagant praise, and of placing a worthy man in a false and embarrassing position. He will suffer by a sudden elation, which, like all other "violent delights," will be very transitory in duration, and will be followed up, at no very remote period, by indifference and neglect; and it will encourage other people to mount upon his shoulders, and obtain the notoriety they covet.

Theatrical managers may be tempted to make a stalking horse of him; and a healthy and decorous feeling of admiration will be vulgarized and burlesqued, for the sake of a little dramatic effects, and in order to put money into playhouse treasuries. There is too much of this pandering to a morbid craving for "sensations" in the public mind already; and we should be extremely sorry to see the heroic achievement of the Exploring Expedition sullied and degraded by parading its sole survivor on the stage of a theatre, as seems to have been done at Sandhurst.

The gratification with which we welcome King must be tempered by the recollection of the tragic incidents of which he has been the witness, of the solemn story of which he is the narrator, and of the melancholy confidence of which he is the sole depository. Something is due to the dead as well as to the living, and our respect for their memories demands some sobriety of demeanour in the reception we accord to their surviving comrade. It will be far better to give him a solid and durable recompense than to fête him for a season, and to forget him afterwards; and if he is a modest and self-respecting man, he will prefer seeking the repose he requires, and recruiting his wasted faculties, to being dragged into a painful notoriety, and beset by tho demonstrative attentions and mistaken kindnesses of well-meaning but indiscreet admirers.]

Dr Macadam asked whether any member of the Committee then present had given Dr Wills authority to adopt a different course than that agreed upon by the Committee with reference to the reception of King at tho railway station on the previous day - whether Dr Wills had been specially instructed to meet King at the North Melbourne station.

The Chairman said that after Dr Macadam had left the hall on a previous day Dr Wills called upon him, and told him that he had authority from His Excellency to proceed to North Melbourne to take King from the station there. When the proposition was made on the previous day he mentioned that the deputation from the Committee might be intercepted. He gave no sanction to anything done by Dr Wills, as his sanction was not asked.

Dr Macadam deeply regretted that any member of the Committee should have been in possession of information which would lead him to imagine that King would he intercepted at North Melbourne and had not mentioned it to the Committee but had allowed himself and Mr Gilbee to leave the hall under the supposition that they would receive King. He regretted it as it had led to great confusion, and had also been severely animadverted upon by the press. He had that day received the following letter from Mr Nash, which he thought, in justice to that gentleman, should be published. It was as follows:

Department of Railways,
Secretary's Office,
La Trobe-street west,
Melbourne,
Nov. 20 1861

My dear Dr Macadam,
I wish to explain to the Exploration Committee the cause of the apparent want of arrangements for receiving Mr King last night at the Spencer-street railway station.

About half past five pm last night Dr Wills, in company with several other gentlemen, came down to the station and informed myself and the traffic superintendent that they were instructed by the Exploration Committee to receive King, and convey him direct to Government House. Conveyances were ordered to meet the train for the conveyance of the party. I proceeded with the party to the North Melbourne station, and heard the gentlemen in charge of King refuse to allow him to leave. I then ordered the train to proceed to Melbourne where I found all confusion, in consequence of our arrangements having been put aside by the instruction from Dr Wills.

After great personal inconvenience I succeeded in getting Mr King into a car and assisting him to Government House as directed by Dr Wills, where I found the same confusion as at the Railway Station, which caused me to think that some interference had been made without authority. I write this purposely to show that the confusion was not the fault of the railway officials, and that we know nothing of the members of the Committee being in waiting at the station.

Faithfully yours,
(Signed) R Nash.
The Hon. John Macadam, &c.

The Chairman stated that on the previous day Dr Wills had called upon him in rather an excited state about getting money to send home to England. He then said, "I will tell you something privately. I have just seen the Governor to get his permission to meet King at the North Melbourne station, so that I may got hold of King." That was told to him privately, as an appointment made by His Excellency, and he did not think it was necessary to state to the Committee what he knew, he did say, however, that he understood that King would be intercepted, and that, in all probability, King would not reach the Spencer-street station. Therefore, the members of the Committee who went to meet King had heard enough to lead them to suppose that the deputation would be intercepted. He would put it to any gentleman to say whether he could repeat information given to him privately. He might have been in error; at the same time, he stated the probability of the deputation being intercepted.

Dr Macadam said the Committee was not informed that King would be withdrawn at the North Melbourne station. He disapproved of any member of the Committee having a private side, and withholding anything from the Committee on business connected with it.

After some discussion, Mr Welch said that, upon arriving at the North Melbourne station Dr Wills had asked him to get out there. He objected to doing so, as his instructions were to go to Spencer-street. Dr Wills told him that it would serve him right if he was killed by the mob, and used some very abusive language. The subject then dropped.

Dr Macadam said that he had received the following telegram from Mr Wright, in answer to one he had sent stating that his presence might be required in Melbourne, to give evidence before the Commission. The telegram was;

Have received your message. I am in charge of a party with cattle for the north, and, unless your business is very urgent, cannot leave under any circumstances. I should not leave unless all my expenses were paid, and I were adequately remunerated. Reply immediately.
W Wright.

He considered it was his duty to transmit the message to the Royal Commission, which would meet on the following day, and would move;

That the telegram of Mr Wright be transmitted to tho Royal Commission of Inquiry, with an expression of opinion on the part of the Committee that the presence of that gentleman as a witness was indispensable, and that this Committee will be happy to cooperate, if necessary, with the commission in securing his attendance in Melbourne.

The resolution was agreed to.

Dr Macadam laid upon the table the instructions given to Mr Welch by Mr Howitt, and also copies of the letters to be forwarded to the relatives of Mr Burke, aquainting them of the circumstances surrounding his death. A despatch was also read from Mr Gregory relative to the difficulty of an overland party reaching Commander Norman before he left the Gulf of Carpentaria, and also as to the impracticability of sending by way of Torres Straits in consequence of the monsoons. The concluding paragraph of the despatch was as follows:

As having some hearing on this subject, I may remark that Mr Landsborough, who is in charge of one of the land parties, was aware that an exploring party, supposed to be Mr Burke's, had returned towards Cooper's Creek down the Thompson River (Longitude 143 deg), and this circumstance may lend to the more speedy return of the exploration.

The despatch was dated Brisbane, November 10.

No other business of importance was transacted, and the Committee adjourned till the following day.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Major John Burke dated 26 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to John Burke dated 26 November 1861 with letter to Major John Burke. 4p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 157. Minutes of the EC meeting, 26 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 26 November 1861. (Two copies on seperate pages).

Wednesday, 27 November 1861.
The Commission of Enquiry sat for the second day's evidence.

Thursday, 28 November 1861.
Special meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Ligar (chair), Eades, Elliott, Smith and Macadam.

Meeting adjourned to 29 November.

Thursday, 28 November 1861 - The Commission of Enquiry sat for the third day's evidence.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 159. Minutes of the special EC meeting, 28 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of special EC meeting, 28 November 1861.

Friday, 29 November 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee was held 3 pm.
Present: Eades (chair), Wilkie, Elliott, MacKenna, Smith, Cadell and Macadam.

Age, Saturday, 30 November 1861: 4.
Meeting held for the purpose of receiving Mr John King. A select few were present, who had received intimation of the meeting, but in other respects there was nothing to indicate that the business possessed any features of more than ordinary interest to the public, and the knowledge of which would no doubt have led to some demonstration of a marked character. Mr King was present, and received the hearty congratulations of the ladies and gentlemen who had assembled to welcome him.

Dr Eades was moved to the chair. The Hon Secretary read a letter from Sir W Stawell, excusing his attendance from pressure of public engagements, and enclosing an application from the proprietors of the Australian Illustrated News, requesting permission to copy some of Mr Ludwig Becker's sketches for publication. [Dr Macadam intimated that as the Committee proposed writing a history of the expedition, to which Mr Becker's sketches would be embodied, the application of the proprietors at the Australian Illustrated News could not be complied with.]

*******
Vote of thanks to Mr King.
Dr Eades rose to propose a motion on behalf of the Exploration Committee, expressive of the pleasure experienced at the return of Mr King, notwithstanding the mournful circumstances connected therewith; but became so overpowered by his feelings at the recollection of the events which had taken place since the period when he parted with Burke and his party in the enjoyment of health and strength, and in full confidence of his speedy return, and successful termination of his labors, as to be unable to continue his observations.

Mr James Smith said that he felt persuaded every one present sympathised deeply with those emotions under which the chairman labored; since all more or less participated in them, though perhaps they were more skilful in concealing them. The object of the meeting was to congratulate Mr King on his return. He would not allude to the circumstances connected with the mournful yet glorious expedition, as he believed that in so doing he would be awakening feelings of a very painful character to all, and especially to Mr King, who had not yet sufficiently recovered from the arduous toils he had undergone, and towards whom, therefore, it would be an act of courtesy not to enlarge on such topics. He considered that the duty of the Committee was to express its sincere gratitude to Almighty One for returning Mr King to them (Hear, hear), and to offer their hearty congratulations and warmest thanks for his heroic conduct during the expedition (Cheers). In that view he submitted the following motion:

That this Committee devises to express its thanks to Almighty God for the restoration to us of Mr King and to acknowledge its high sense of the bravery, fidelity, and admirable qualities displayed by him under the circumstances of so trying and painful a character, as well as to thank him most cordially for his excellent conduct to Messrs Burke and Wills during the expedition and at the mournful close of their earthly career (Cheers).

Mr Elliot said he could understand and appreciate the sympathy so manifestly betrayed by the chairman in the object of the meeting, and felt that he could not add anything to the remarks of the mover of the motion. The thanks of the meeting were due above all things to the Divine Being who had restored one of the party to them, under circumstances which, although deplorable so far as the expedition was concerned, nevertheless left them cause for rejoicing that all had not perished. It was extremely gratifying to the Committee, who had worked hard and long, to know that their efforts had brought about so successful a termination of their labors. He would therefore cordially second the motion.

The motion was was put and carried unanimously.

Several questions were put to Mr King by members of the Committee:

Dr Mackenna: Did you bring down any papers?
Mr King: I brought down a pocket book of Mr Burke's which he desired, if I should live, that I would present to Sir William Stawell, and no other member of the Committee. As Sir William Stawell is not here, the Committee will excuse me for declining to deliver it up.

The Committee concurred with Mr King in the propriety of such a course.

Dr MacKenna: Have you no other documents?
Mr King: Mr Burke also delivered to me his watch, which he said belonged to the Committee, and which I delivered to Mr Howitt.

Dr Mackenna: Did you take any notes?
Mr King: I took no notes.

Dr Mackenna: Did you not live long on the nardoo?
Mr King: We all lived on it from the 17th May; Burke and Wills from the 17th May to the 29th June, and I from the 17th May to the 15th September.

Mr Elliott: What do you consider you were principally deficient of?
Mr King: Sugar and fat.

Mr Elliott: Of course there is no oleaginous matter in the nardoo, what did your frame desire more than anything else?
Mr King: We all had a craving for sugar and fat.

Dr Mackenna: The blacks took away the fishing nets with them, did they not?
Mr King: But we managed to get fish. When we found they were fishing we compelled them to give us some.

Dr Mackenna: Had you any means of bribing them?
Mr King: We had no means, and why we took from them by force was, that they were always inclined to steal, and by taking from them on friendly terms, we only encouraged them to come about us.

Mr King exhibited some specimens of the nardoo, which were distributed amongst the persons present.

Dr Mackenna: Have you any idea how it was you managed to eke out an existence upon fish and nardoo, and Burke and Wills could not do so?
Mr King: The only reason I can assign is, that the natives would not admit Mr Burke into the tribe, nor Wills, only for the time they remained in one camp. They knew Mr Burke was this leader, for they were continually pointing him out to their own leader, and they never allowed us three to enter the camp at once. I knew it was my only chance to remain with the natives, and that it was as well for them to kill me as for me to starve.

Dr Mackenna: Did Burke, and Wills make any attempt to get amongst the natives?
Mr King: Mr Wills did, but he was compelled to leave the camp as soon as they shifted. As long as the natives remained in one camp. they were allowed to stay with them, but not to follow. There were some ten or twelve tribes on the creek, having from forty to fifty men in each tribe.

Mr Elliott: Do you think that Burke and Wills broke down for want of food, or from being dispirited in consequence of finding the place vacated? What effect had it upon their minds?
Mr King: It did not seem to affect their minds in the least, for they always seemed in good spirits and always full of encouragement.

Mr Elliott: They did not droop or despond at being left alone when they had expected assistance?
Mr King: No, they did not. As soon as we found there were sufficient provisions. we attempted to get down to Mount Hopeless.

Mr Elliott: You speak of the effect on year mind alone; but I should like to know what it was on the minds of your companions.
Mr King: It was a great disappointment to us all, but I cannot answer how they felt.

Dr Macadam said it was not the desire of the Committee to interrogate Mr King in reference to matters connected with the expedition, as he understood that on Thursday next Mr King would be required to appear before the Commission of Inquiry, and that then would be the proper time to examine him. He said that there was a rumour current to the effect that Mr King had lost two papers whilst at the Chief Secretary's office [O'Shanassy] on the day of his arrival, and desired to know if it was correct. Mr King said the papers were merely private documents, and of no consequence. Dr Macadam said that when the rumour got abroad, the Mayor called at the Chief Secretary's office [O'Shanassy] with a view to recover the document, but could not find them.

The history of the expedition
Dr Eades, pursuant to notice, moved the following resolution:

That, as it is expedient a obtain as full a narrative as possible of the progress of the Exploring Expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria, in order to supplement the notes at Messrs Burke and Wills, Mr James Smith be requested to prepare the same from the viva voca statements of Mr King. It is at the same time suggested that, out of consideration to the enfeebled condition of Mr King, ample time be allowed him in which to make each statement.

Dr Macadam wished to knew whether Mr King entertained any objection. Mr King said that he did not. The only conditions he would impose was, that the questions should be asked in the form of a consecutive narrative. Dr Eades observed that he had had a conversation with Mr King on the subject, and he had expressed a wish that all questions should be put in proper order to enable him to give a true and faithful account, as he was afraid the question might be put as to places and events unconnected with each other, and he might not be able to truly explain everything he was desirous of explaining.

The resolution was seconded and adopted.

The ebb and flow of the Albert River
Captain Cadell asked how near Mr King approached the Albert River, and whether he observed it flow and recede. Mr King said he could not see any flow until the tide rose and fell. Captain Cadell asked how many feet it fell. Mr King said six inches where he was. Dr Macadam remarked that Burke and Willis were much further down, where the rise and flow would be much greater. Mr King said they went fifteen miles further down.

The proceedings then closed.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 160. Minutes of the adjourned special EC meeting, 29 November 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 29 November 1861.

Monday, 2 December 1861.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Chief Secretary [O'Shanassy] dated 2 December 1861.
• Letter to Mayne dated 2 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Copy of letter to Chief Secretary [O'Shanassy] dated 2 December 1861. 3p.

Tuesday, 3 December 1861.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to B Ryland dated 3 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Draft copy of letter to Chewton Town Clerk dated 3 December 1861. 1p.

Wednesday, 4 December 1861.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Mayne dated 4 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Mayne dated 4 December 1861. 1p.

Thursday, 5 December 1861.
A Special Meeting of the Exploration Committee was held at 5.00pm at the Royal Society's institute for the purpose of receiving Mr Howitt who had arrived in town today.
Present: Stawell (chair), Selwyn, McCoy, Mueller, Eades, Wilkie, Cadell, Iffla, Gilbee and Macadam. Messrs Howitt, Welch and McDonagh were in attendance.

Mr Burke's watch was laid on the table.
£5 was authorised to be paid from petty cash to Robert Dickson.

---
Age, Friday, 6 December 1861 page 3.
Macadam announced he had received a telegram from the Commissioner of Crown Lands in Adelaide announcing the bodies discovered by McKinlay were 45 miles WNW of Burke's grave. There was a note accompanying this telegram from Mr Ligar stating that King had stated Gray was buried three or four journeys from Wills' grave and King had described the flannel shirt and tin pannikin and therefore there could be no doubt that the body was that of Gray.

Howitt discussed the wages and provisions for the Victorian Exploring Party and then Macadam said tht Mr Knowles had been communicated with regarding the services he had provided. Howitt said that Mr Smith had made an application for his wages, that Mr Wright had set at 35s a week [DGP: £91 pa].

Mr Haverfield and Mr Howitt had a discussion, using a map, about the character and nature of Howitt's track. There was a further discussion over the track Howitt should take back to Cooper's Creek. McCoy moved the Committee accept the resignations of Dr Wheeler, and Messrs Vining, Sapson and Calcutt and that Mr howitt be authorised to replace them.

The Committee suggested Howitt take goats and pack-bullocks with him. Dr Wilkie had heard bullock ands camels travel well together. Mr Selwyn thought it would take too long to acquire and break in bullocks.

Professor McCoy enquied about a missing portion of Wills' map.

At the suggestion of the Chairman, the watch which had been brought down by Mr Howitt, and which had been given by the Committee to Mr Burke, was given to Mr Howitt to take on his return journey.

The sub-committee nominated on the 19 November was to co-operate with Mr Howitt to outfit the party and purchase the neccesary horses.

The Chairman read parts of Burke's private pocket-book that had been handed to him by King.
[The meeting adjourned to 7 December?].

---
Argus, Friday, 6 December 1861, page 6.
A special meeting of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society was convened for yesterday afternoon, for the purpose of receiving a statement from Mr A W Howitt, the leader of the contingent party, who arrived in town yesterday morning. There were present: Sir W Stawell (chairman), Dr Mueller, Dr Wilkie, Dr Eades, Dr Macadam, Professor McCoy, and Messrs Haverfield, lffla, Selwyn, Cadell, Welch, and Gilbee.

Mr Howitt was warmly welcomed by the members of the Committee. The Chairman stated the object of the meeting, and expressed his gratification at the opportune arrival of Mr Howitt, as from his report the Committee could decide what course should be taken.

Dr Macadam read a telegram from the Surveyor-General of Adelaide, acknowledging some papers and charts sent to him by Mr Ligar, and stating that the body found by Mr McKinlay was forty-five miles north-west of where Mr Wills was buried. He might mention that the matter had been most satisfactorily settled that day by the evidence given by King, who said that Gray was buried three days' journey from Wills's grave, in the precise direction mentioned in the telegram King also recognized in Mr McKinlay's description the flannel shirt in which Gray was buried, and also the account of where the tin pannikin and other articles were found. There was no doubt, therefore, that the body was that of Gray. It would be remembered that Mr McKinlay had not proceeded to Cooper's Creek after finding the body, or otherwise ha might have come upon the traces of Burke and Wills. It was now proved that the conjecture of Mr McKinlay, based upon the statement of the blacks, that a number of white men had been murdered, was unfounded.

Dr Eades thought it was mentioned that deep scars were found upon the skull. Dr Macadam said King did not recollect that Gray had scars on his head, but it was just possible that they were old scars, Gray having been a sailor. The position of the box-trees, the distance from the lake, and everything, in fact, proved that McKinlay had come upon one of Burke's old camps.

Mr Howitt said that, on receipt of his last instructions, he found that circumstances compelled him to come down and make fresh, arrangements. As would be shown by a letter addressed to him, some of his party were disinclined to go out again, and he thought it would be necessary to proceed to the Murray or to Melbourne for others. Another difficulty was that of transporting the amount of loading required for the depot at Cooper's Creak. Last time he had no occasion to carry water, but now he would have to do so, and it would make a serious difference. The weight of his last equipment was two tons, or as near that as possible; but for his next journey it would be two tons and a half. He had made a statement of the amount of loading he would have to carry with him, with the rations, calculated on the former scale. The gross amount would be what he had stated. He would have to take thirty hundredweight of rations, at least, and other things, with the supply for tho depot, would bo another ton. That would last the party for five months, or perhaps could be spun out to six months, by reducing the rations, in case of necessity. He would be unable to take up any quantity of dried meat, but that difficulty must be overcome by making use of the least useful to the horses. He thought it would be difficult to take up sheep or packed bullocks by any of the routes of which at present he had received information. It would be hardly advisable to adapt any special route until he had obtained all the information that could be procured on the subject, but he could, upon getting that, determine upon the best and safest route at this season of the year. He thought that was all respecting the instructions for going out again. He had twelve men on his last expedition, and if he had the same number again, four could return on reaching Cooper's Creek, bringing with them the remains of Burke and Wills, and coming down by the best route, four would remain at the depot, and the other four could be employed in exploring the country in the direction most advisable. He might mention, with reference to the depot at Pamamooroo, that Knowles had resigned the situation of store- keeper, and it would be for the Committee to decide what his salary would be. He wished to bring forward a matter partly entered upon on the last occasion of his being before the Committee, it was in reference to the salaries of himself and other officers when he first accepted the charge of the party, it was more for the purpose of finding Burke than for emolument. When his duties were increased it was not his intention to raise any objection, and he left the Committee with the understanding that the matter would be considered on his return.

Dr Macadam said that Knowles had been communicated with, asking him to furnish the Committee with a statement of his duties, to help them to arrive at some decision. Mr Dickson explained that the letter had been answered, but it was not thought necessary to consider it until Mr Howitt arrived.

Dr Macadam said that a letter had been received from Smith, saying that Mr Wright had promised to give him 50s a week, instead of 30s. Mr Howitt said that Smith had asked him to carry out Mr Wright's promise, but he felt it was a matter beyond his duties, and that he had no power to do so. Dr Macadam mentioned that Mr Wright was expected in Melbourne on the following day, and he could then be asked in reference to the matter.

The Chairman said the business before the Committee was to determine whether a new party was to be formed, the number of it, and the amount of Mr Howitt's remuneration As to the route, he thought it would be better to leave it to Mr Howitt.

Mr Haverfield drew attention to what he thought would be a straighter route for Howitt to take, and one known to exploring parties which had visited it. It was from Menindie to the south east corner of the barrier. More water would be found also by that route. In an answer to Mr Howitt, Mr Haverfield promised to give him his field notes and his tracings of the route he referred to

Mr Howitt, in reply to the chairman, said the persons desirous of leaving the party were Mr Wheeler, the surgeon, and Vining, Sampson, and Calcott. Aitken and Williams - the latter of whom was engaged at Menindie - and Weston Phillips, who was in Melbourne, were willing to go out again. Dr Macadam said Phillips had no objection to return, Mr Welch would return and Mr McDonough also.

Mr Howitt said that if it were determined that a party was to be made up, he would like to look around him before he selected new men, as he considered great care should be taken to select men who would be fitted for the work. The chairman thought that would be necessary, as a useless man required the same amount of provisions as a good man. He thought that only men of strong constitution should be taken.

Mr McDonough stated that he would like to return with Mr Howitt, not so much for the remuneration he might receive, but, having been a friend of Mr Burke, he wished to be one of the party to bring down his remains. On the former expedition he had not suffered from ill health, and was not likely to do so now.

The chairman asked Mr Howitt if he anticipated any danger to the party.

Mr Howitt said the season of the year would render it difficult to get through to Cooper's Creek, and it was a question whether he succeeded without losing some horses. He did not see any reason why they would not succeed, although they would be a long time on the journey They would have to carry water, and when they came to long stages he would have to send on water by camels, and make a depot half-way.

The chairman asked when the wet season commenced? Mr Howitt thought in April; but Mr Haverfield could say perhaps? Mr Haverfield said that in December last year there was a very heavy thunderstorm. The chairman said he referred to the winter rains. The party might get to Cooper's Creek and wish to return. At what time could a return be calculated upon without risk? Mr Howitt said May or June. The chairman inquired when he proposed to leave Menindie? Mr Howitt calculated it would take him three weeks to get to Menindie, and he would leave there early in January. Dr Macadam thought the greatest expedition was necessary, in order to fall in with Walker's party on their return from the Albert River. Mr Burke went across in two months. The chairman said, 'Yes , but Burke did it by forced marches.' Mr Howitt thought he could make Cooper's Creek in four weeks from Menindie. He would not have to remain long at the latter place, as he had perfect confidence in those men who were there getting everything ready for him to start early.

After some remarks from Dr Macadam as to the necessity of of expedition, Dr Mueller said the reserve parties would be at more risk than the principal party, as they would feel justified in running more risk if they got on to the tracks of the exploring party. In answer to Dr Gilbee, Mr Howitt said he could have left a quantity of provisions at Cooper's Creek, but he had heard nothing to justify him in making a cache there. He heard rumours when he got to the Darling.

Dr Wilkie referred to the various routes discovered by private parties, when he was reminded by the chairman that no definite route had been arranged as yet, and that it would be better to proceed with the business in a formal way.

Captain Cadell pointed out that land was being taken up on the South Australian portion of Cooper's Creek, and was to be stocked, so there could not be much difficulty in reaching it.

After some conversation, Professor McCoy moved:

That the resignation of Messrs Wheeler, Vining, Sampson, and Calcott, be accepted, and that Mr Howitt be authorised to organise a party of the same strength and number as formerly; and, further, that Mr Howitt be left to avail himself of such advantageous deviations from the original route from Menindie to Cooper's Creek as may come to his knowledge, using, however, every expedition to reach Cooper's Creek, and establish a depot there at tha earliest possible period, so as to carry out the instructions of the 14th December last.

He thought Mr Howitt should be allowed to select his own route, as every confidence could be placed in his judgement, and as much of that information he would receive could not be made public at present. Mr Selwyn seconded the motion, which was carried.

Dr Macadam moved that Mr Howitt's salary be £500 per annum, with power to appoint an officer at a salary of £200. The motion was agreed to.

A conversation then ensued, in which Mr Howitt said he would start for Menindie, if possible, on Monday next. He had thirty-two horses on which he could depend, and others which might be employed in carrying water occasionally. There were also six camels ready for service. It was decided that Mr Howitt should furnish a statement of the articles required by him to a sub-committee appointed to draw up fresh instructions.

The chairman referred to a letter which appeared in the daily journals recently, and in which was suggested that goats should be taken by explorers. Mr Howitt thought there would not be time to try the experiment; nor could they take pack bullocks, as there would not be time to break them in.

The pistol found by the side of Burke, and the watch given to him by the Committee, were laid on the table by Mr Howitt. It was agreed that the watch should be given to Mr Howitt for his use, and that the pistol should be sent to the Exhibition.

Professor McCoy referred to the chart which contained the route as laid down by Wills, and from which a piece had been lost, containing that portion of the route which would show how near to the Gulf of Carpentaria the Expedition had travelled. He was happy to be able to say that both Mr Howitt and Mr Welch had seen the missing piece of the chart, and Mr Howitt had testified that there were marks upon it showing that Burke had gone to the shore of the Gulf. Mr Howitt said the fragment referred to had pencil marks upon it, and was folded up in the other chart. He took care that it was put with the other papers.

Dr Wilkie moved that the salary of Mr Welch, the surveyor, be £250 per annum.

Mr Howitt said he should be very happy to have Mr Welch with him again, as he had found him a good officer. In the event of Mr Welch again suffering from bad eyes, he (Mr Howitt) would be able to give him assistance. The motion was carried.

The Chairman produced a private memorandum book belonging to Mr Burke, which, he stated, he intended to forward to Miss Burke at Malta. The book contained principally instructions to his sister, but on some of the leaves there were memoranda for the Committee evidently. Those he would read to the Committee. They were as follows:

I hope we shall be done justice to. We fulfilled our task, but were (aban-*) not followed up as I expected. The depot party abandoned their post,

R O'Hara Burke.


For the Committee.
Cooper's Creek, 20th June, 1861.

King has behaved nobly; I hope he will be taken care of. He goes up the creek in accordance with my request.
June 29th, 1861


King has behaved nobly, and I hope if he lives he will be properly rewarded,
28th June 1861.


King has stayed with me till the last. He has left me, at my own request, unburied, and with my pistol in hand.

The Committee then adjourned.

Thursday, 5 December 1861.
The Commission of Enquiry sat for the fourth day's evidence.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Minister of Finance dated 5 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Minister of Finance dated 5 December 1861. 4p.

SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 161. Minutes of the EC meeting, 5 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 5 December 1861. (Three copies on seperate pages).

Saturday, 7 December 1861.
Adjourned meeting of the Exploration Committee.
Present: Stawell (chair), Eades, Wilkie, Selwyn, Ligar, Cadell, Mueller, Gilbee and Macadam.

Mr Howitt was authorised to expend £9 on a photographic instrument and Mr Welch was directed to look after a suitable one.

A motion was passed to bring down the bodies of Burke and Wills from Cooper's Creek to Melbourne.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 163. Minutes of the adjourned EC meeting, 7 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of adjourned EC meeting, 7 December 1861.

Monday, 9 December 1861.
1. Ordinary Meeting of the Royal Society of Victoria:
Chas W Ligar, Esq., Vice President, in the chair.

The following contributions were laid on the table, viz.:

A pair of Wax Medallion Portraits of the late Messrs. Burke and Wills - presented by Mrs G H Poole, of Sandridge.

Moved by Dr Macadam and carried:

That the Photographic Views obtained during the Victorian Expedition be bound up in an Album.

***
2. Meeting of the Exploration Committee:
Present: Stawell (chair), Ligar, Gilbee, Mueller, Cadell, Smith, Embling, Elliott, Iffla, Wilkie, Eades, MacKenna and Macadam. Mr Howitt was present.

Business: To consider Wilkie's motion rescinding the resolution on bringing down the bodies of Becker and others, and to take leave of Mr Howitt.

---
A meeting of the members of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society was held yesterday afternoon, for the purpose of bidding farewell to Mr A W Howitt, who was leaving Melbourne for Menindie and Cooper's Creek; and also to take into consideration a resolution with respect to the removal of the remains to Melbourne of those who perished in the late Expedition.

Sir William Stawell presided; there being present Dr Wilkie, Dr Eades, Dr Macadam, Dr Mueller, and Messrs J Smith, Elliott, Gilbee, Cadell, Embling, Iflia, and Mackenna. Messrs Howitt, Welch, and Dr Murray were also in the room.

Dr Macadam stated that various applications had been received by the Committee from persons desirous of joining the party, but he understood that the party was now completed. There was one letter, however, he thought the Committee would like to have read. It was from Mr John King, and was as follows:

St. Kilda,
6 December 1861.

Sir,
As it is the intention of the Government to have the remains of my respected leaders, Mr Burke and Mr Wills, conveyed to town, I therefore offer my services for the occa- sion. Also, that I may be able to ascertain if it was the remains of Charles Gray that Mr McKinlay has discovered.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
John King

Perhaps Mr Howitt would be kind enough to state his views on the subject. Mr Howitt said, as far as the application was concerned, he could only remark that he would be most happy to have Mr King with him, but he was afraid that at this season of the year, and under all circumstances, it would scarcely be fair towards Mr King to accept his offer. In his present condition, it would hardly be right to ask him to go as far as Menindie (Hear, hear). The Chairman thought that the letter from Mr King was just what might have been expected from him, but, at the same time, it would be positive cruelty to let him go. Mr Howitt said he had already made up the party as far as he was able whilst in town. He expected to meet some parties on the road, to whom he had written, to join him. The Chairman said, he observed that the instructions only limited Mr Howitt's stay to the length of time the provisions would lost. He would like to know how long they would hold out after leaving Menindie. Mr Howitt said they would be calculated for five months, allowing the scale of rations he had before mentioned; also for half-a-ton of flour, and various other stores in proportion, to be placed in depot at Cooper's Creek. Those stores would be kept entirely for the purpose intended. He might be expected back in about five months from his departure from Menindie.

The following is a list of the party up to the present time, Mr Howitt intending to engage two white men and one native after leaving Melbourne: A W Howitt (leader), W F Welch, (surveyor), Dr Murray (surgeon), Weston Phillips, Charles Phillips, Henry Burrell, H L Galbraith. There are now at Menindie: A Aitkin (second officer) and W Williams.

Dr Wilkie inquired whether, as recommended by the Committee, Mr Howitt was going to take up certain articles for rewarding the natives who were so kind to King? The Chairman said it was considered, after the statement made by Mr Howitt on a previous day, that sufficient had been done with reference to rewarding the natives, and that if more were done, the motives of the Committee would be misunderstood, and the natives would think that gifts were made to them from other motives than those in view. After Mr Howitt had left the natives for so long, if he were to take additional rewards to them, they might be led to suppose that they could expect the same from all future explorers.

Mr J Smith thought the Committee should do all they could to dissipate the effect which might be produced upon the natives by the treatment of Mr McKinlay, who it appeared had fired upon those who had treated King so kindly. The blacks, from all accounts, appeared to have thought McKinlay's party were the whites who, they were told, would be up there in too moons' time; but McKinlay misunderstood their meaning, and fired upon them, thus provoking their hostility.

Mr Ligar thought it would be better to leave the matter to Mr Howitt, for if he was loaded with a quantity of articles for presents, he would have to go amongst the natives, and might be exposed to very great danger, as the natives might be smarting from feelings of revenge.

Dr Macadam stated that he had received a chart of McKinlay's route, which had arrived very opportunely. The chart was accompanied by a printed copy of Mr Hodgkinson's despatch, and also McKinlay's diary.

The Chairman thought, before they left the question of presents to the natives, Mr Howitt should understand what he was expected to do whether he was to take up presents, or whether the whole matter was to be left to him and to the exercise of his own discretion. Mr Howitt said that, as regarded taking up presents, he could only repeat what he had already said, namely, that the natives would very likely misunderstand the motives, and would expect the same treatment from any persons who went into their country, and, in fact, levy presents as a kind of tribute. He might mention that, when he went out last time, without having reason to suppose that he would require them, he had taken many useful articles with him for the purpose of paying the natives for any services they might render to him. In any other expedition, he would be inclined to adopt the same course. After some further remarks, the discussion dropped.

Mr Howit said, from private information he had received, he thought he should follow the River Darling for some distance after leaving Menindie. Despatches could be forwarded to him at Mount Murchison, and he would leave instructions with the postman to that effect. Mount Murchison would be the furthest point at which despatches could be sent to him.

Mr Ligar informed the Committee that the Melbourne Hospital Committee had most cheerfully acceded to the request made to them, that Dr Murray should have six months' leave of absence, to enable him to accompany Mr Howitt as surgeon to the party. He thought that the fact of Dr Murray being connected with the hospital would be sufficient guarantee of his qualifications. Mr Howitt said he was perfectly satisfied of that, and he hoped to see Dr Murray arrive by the coach, which left Melbourne on Thursda., He could only say he should be most happy to have him as a companion.

Dr Macadam said he had received the following letter from Mr Coppin, and one in reply to it from Mr King:

Dr Macadam,
Hon. Sec. of the Exploring Expedition.

Sir,
The public will, no doubt, expect an opportunity of seeing Mr King, and as it is desirable that he should have a pecuniary advantage in the excitement of the moment, I beg to offer a guarantee of £1,000, payable weekly for twelve months, in consideration of his exhibiting and describing a panorama of the route taken across the country to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

This offer would not interfere with any public demonstration and subscription in connexion with the Royal Society, but it would be, of course, with the understanding that he did not appear in public.

Yours obediently,
Nov. 25.
(Signed) G S Coppin.

PS. At the termination of the twelve months, should the exhibition prove attractive, Mr King will be presented with a share in the property.


St. Kilda,
Nov. 30.

Sir,
In reply to the letter of the Hon. G Coppin, handed to me by you, in which he offers me £1,000 in consideration of my exhibiting and describing a panorama of the route taken across the country to the Gulf of Carpentaria, I beg to say, first, that I do not consider myself at liberty to entertain any proposal from any private party in reference to making public any information in my possession, as the only survivor of the late un- fortunate Exploring Expedition, until authorised so to do by the Government or by the Committee acting for it.

Secondly, that such have been the physical and mental exhaustion through which I have passed, that I am totally unable to endure excitement, much less to appear before crowded audiences - to mentally travel over scenes so full of distressing reminiscences. I require absolute rest, and if possible the diversion of my thoughts into other channels, that I may regain the mental and physical energy I enjoyed before I entered upon the exhaustive labours of the Expedition.

Thirdly, the remembrance of the melancholy deaths of my late brave commander Mr Burke, and his noble associate Mr Wills, under circumstances which threatened my own life also, and my wonderful deliverance and ultimate preservation from death, is such, that I am a wonder to myself. The Almighty has been so gracious to me, and I feel so humble at His great mercy, that I cannot believe that it would be right for me to present myself for exhibition under Mr Coppin's direction for any pecuniary advantage whatsoever.

I beg, therefore, to leave myself in the hands of a paternal and just Government, to be rewarded by it as it may deem proper for my services, as one of the members of the late ill-fated Expedition.

I remain your obedient servant,
John King.

Mr King's answer was received with great marks of approbation.

Mr Howitt and Mr Welch here took leave of the Committee, and left the room.

Dr Wilkie, pursuant to notice, moved:

That the resolution of the Committee to bring down the remains of Dr Becker and others who perished in the late Expedition, be rescinded before Mr Howitt's departure.

He was of opinion that the highest honour should be paid to the remains of Mr Burke and Mr Wills; but he could not see any reason why the remains of the other men should be brought down. He looked upon the remains of Burke and Wills as public property, but the remains of the others were private property only. A resolution had been carried in the Legislative Assembly, to the effect that the remains of Burke and Wills should be brought to Melbourne; but no reference was made, either in the Council or Assembly, to the remains of the other members of the party. If the Committee decided that the remains of all should be brought down, he should move that a deputation wait upon the Chief Secretary, informing him of such a determination, as he did not think the Committee had the power to travel beyond a resolution of the Parliament without obtaining the sanction of the Government. Dr Eades seconded the motion.

Mr James Smith disapproved of any of the bones being brought down. He thought if they were brought and exhibited it would do away with all the solemnity of a funeral. Mr Elliott supported the motion. Mr Gilbee agreed with the remarks of Mr Smith. At the same time, he thought that if any of the bones were brought down all should be, as all had shared in the dangers of the Expedition. He did not wish the bones to be brought down for the purpose of exhibiting them, but because the religious feelings of the friends of the deceased might be respected. The weight of all the bones would not be very great, as he had that day weighed a skeleton and found the weight to be only nine pounds.

Captain Cadell was in favour of Dr Becker's remains being removed to Melbourne, as he had many claims upon the colony. If his remains were allowed to rest where they were, and those of Burke and Wills were removed, his country-men would think a slight had been offered to them; but if they were brought down, the Committee would be paying a compliment to Dr Becker's scientific friends at home and also to his countryman here, who formed a large portion of the community.

Mr Ligar thought it was a mistake to remove any of the bones, as wherever they lay would, in future times, be considered consecrated ground. As in other countries, the spots where Burke, and Wills, and the others fell could be marked by cairns. He believed Burke wished to be left where he died, when he asked to have his pistol placed in his hand. The Legislature made a mistake in saying that the remains should be brought down, but tbe Committee were bound to carry into effect that decision. The mischief had been done; but he thought the decision of the Committee should remain as it was, as if the remains of some were to be brought down the whole should be. The whole thing was a mistake.

Mr Embling expressed himself in favour of the remarks made by Mr Ligar.

The Chairman thought the Committee should not act against the decision of the Legislature, but should have carried it out as passed. The resolution since passed by the Committee was a mistake, and those members who wished to adhere to it would vote against the present motion.

Mr Gilbee said he had not brought forward his resolution on a previous day under any misapprehension; but he thought that if the bones of Burke and Wills were brought down, those of the other men should be. He could not hold with any distinction being shown, as, if it were necessary to put one man into consecrated ground, it was as regarded the others.

The Chairman said that no argument had been raised in the Assembly with the idea of having the bones placed in consecration ground. The motion was carried simply because the Legislature wished to do honour to those to whom they considered it was due - to the leaders of the Expedition. For his part he could not see that, because honour was shown to the leaders, dishonour would be shown to those under their command.

Captain Cadell remarked that the expense of bringing down all the bones would not be greater than bringing down only some.

The Chairman said Mr Howitt entertained a different opinion. Mr Howitt evidently attached no small importance to the injunction that he was bound to use every means to bring down the bones of all. The graves were not marked; and if the Committee was serious in having the remains of all brought down, some person who knew where the men were buried should be sent with Mr Howitt.

The resolution was then put. There were five voters on each side. The chairman gave his casting vote with the ayes, and the resolution was carried.

Mr James Smith gave notice that, at the next meeting of the Committee, he would move:

That it is inexpedient to bring down the bodies of either Burke or Wills; and that it will redound to the honour and credit of the colony if their remains are suffered to repose where they were originally buried and an appropríate monument be raised above the grave of each (Hear, hear.)

Dr Macadam stated that a deputation had waited upon the under-secretary, requesting that £2,000 might be placed on tbe Estimates, in ad- dition to the £3,000 promised. Owing to the increased expenses, rendered necessary by the number of parties in the field, and by the equipment of Mr Howitt, an additional vote would be necessary. No decision was given, but the deputation were made to understand that in all probability not more than £3,000 would be voted.

The Committee then adjourned.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 164. Minutes of the EC meeting, 9 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 9 December 1861.

SLV MS11663, Records of the Royal Society of Victoria.

• Minute book, 1861-2.

Tuesday, 10 December 1861.
The Commission of Enquiry sat for the fifth day's evidence.

Wednesday, 11 December 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to James Dickson dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to Grant dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to Richards dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to Armstrong dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to Forde dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to Mitchell dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to Watt dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to Hay dated 11 December 1861.
• Letter to W E P Giles dated 11 December 1861

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Twelve draft letters on four pages dated 11 December 1861. 4p.

Thursday, 12 December 1861.
The Commission of Enquiry sat for the sixth day's evidence.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Howitt dated 12 December 1861.

Saturday, 14 December 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to John King dated 14 December 1861.
• Letter to Dr Bearan dated 14 December 1861.

Monday, 16 December 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Moore dated 16 December 1861.

Wednesday, 18 December 1861.
Meeting of the Exploration Committee held at 5.30 pm.
Present: Selwyn (chair), Wilkie and Gilbee.

A special meeting of the Exploration Commitee of the Royal Society was be held this afternoon. The main business for discussion is the important motion, of which notice was given at the last meeting by Mr James Smith, to the effect, that the bodies of the lost explorers be undisturbed.

Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/1, RSV EFC and RSV EC minute book, 1858-1873. 1 bound volume, ms., 295 numbered pages.

• p. 167. Minutes of the EC meeting, 18 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2075/3b, RSV EC 'Draft minutes', 2 August 1861 to 11 August 1862. 1 bound vol, ms., pages not numbered.

• Minutes of EC meeting, 18 December 1861.

Monday, 23 December 1861
An adjourned ordinary meeting of the Royal Society was held. His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, president, occupied the chair. On the motion of Mr C W Ligar, seconded by Mr Gilbee, the following gentlemen were re-elected as the Exploration Committee without opposition.

Tuesday, 24 December 1861.
Related archives:
SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Moore dated 24 December 1861.

SLV MS13071, Box 2079/3, RSV EC miscellaneous outward correspondence, February-October 1860 and July 1861-November 1872. 126p.

• Letter to Moore dated 24 December 1861. 1p.

Thursday, 26 December 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to Howitt dated 26 December 1861.

Saturday, 28 December 1861.
Related archive: SLV MS13071, Box 2088B/5, RSV EC outward correspondence August 1860 to July 1869.

• Letter to John King dated 28 December 1861.

Monday, 30 December 1861.
The Commission of Enquiry sat for the seventh and final day's evidence.

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