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

by Robert Treborlang, © 1991-2002.

A Hop Through Australia's History
Sydney: Major Mitchell Press.

Burke leaves Melbourne with eighteen men,
Horses and camels carry them,
To cross Australia is their aim.

Some quit soon. With problems darned,
Wills is placed second in command,
While Wright with stores gets left behind.

At Cooper's Creek Burke waits for Wright.
When he's late, with Wills, uptight,
Burke makes a dash for the Northern Bight.

After two hard months they reach the Gulf.
The return trek proves very tough,
Charlie Grey's light is the first to snuff.

Two months later they're back midway,
Brahe's search party misses by a day,
And they head to Melbourne the wrong way.

Next Wright and Brahe begin to seek
Burke and Wills round Cooper's Creek,
Not knowing they'd been there a week.

For they had agreed to use as ark
A tree with 'Dig' carved in the bark
But then forgot to place a new mark.

Another month and Burke and Wills
Return to the Creek broke by their ills,
The heat one then the other kills.

Public sympathy's soon whipped up,
They get buried in a huge hubbub
In time for the very first Melbourne Cup.

www.burkeandwills.net.au Burke & Wills Web The digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020, Dave Phoenix