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Queensland [Burke] Relief Expedition

On his journey from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Melbourne, Landsborough received intelligence that a stray camel had been caught on the Darling River. There had been several reports of a camel or camels been seen on the Darling, Culgoa, Barwon and Ballonne Rivers in New South Wales and Queensland.

A camel was caught by station hands on Mr T Dangar's Ginge Run on the Barwon River, just downstream from Walgett. Dangar wrote to Charles Cowper, Colonial Secretary for NSW on 29 October 1861 from his Bullerawa Station on the Namoi River near Wee Waa, stating a large cream coloured camel had been found. The letter was accompanied by a letter from the police at Wee waa which supposed the camel was the same on that had been seen at Henry Colless' station on the Culgoa. The Wee Waa Police understood someone [Belooch] had come up the Darling River in search of the camel initially reported by Colles. The person had traveled as far upstream as Messrs Loder? and Capps' station at Brewarrina and being unable to find the camel had returned downstream on a paddle steamer. Both letter were forwarded to Victorian parliamentary Under-secretary John Moore who received them on 22 November 1861.

On 2 June 1862 Landsborough wrote to the Exploration Committee from Bunnawaunah [sic: Bunnawanna], Darling River, stating 'there is a camel on this run which I will endeavour to get and take to Menindie'.

On 22 July 1862 Landsborough wrote to the Exploration Committee from Tintinalagy Station on the Darling River explaining the camel had been lost for a while which had delayed him. He intended bringing the camel on to Melbourne once it was found;

From Euston I intend sending Gleeson and a man I have hired with the camel to Melbourne. To pay their expenses I will advance Gleeson a sufficient sum. To Gleeson's assistant I have promised the usual wages from the date of our arrival at Euston. To drive the camel I will probably give them two riding-horses and a packhorse. With them I will send an Expedition horse and the foal that was dropped near the Gulf of Carpentaria, which I dare say the Royal Society will sell me to take to Queensland as a relic of my expedition. I hope you will excuse my engaging an assistant for Gleeson, as Mr Bourne and the three aborigines, who have been a long time engaged in this expedition, are anxious to get to Melbourne to return to Queensland. When we reach Euston we intend taking the coach.

The camel was found and taken on to Menindee where it was lost again. Landsborough blamed his Aboriginal guide, Jackey, for losing the camel both times due to carelessness. Landsborough could not find the camel and went on to Melbourne without it.

On 19 August 1862 Mr William McLean Jnr of Polia Station on the Darling River wrote to the Exploration Committee stating the camel lost recently at Menindee by Landsborough was now on his station. When the letter was read at the Committee meeting, Dr David Wilkie noted that Captain Cadell had undertaken to forward the camel to Mr Wilson's station in the Wimmera.

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© 2020, Dave Phoenix