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from Swan Hill, 6 September 1860.

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2082/1a, Item 4.
Victorian Exploring Expedition Records, Dispatches sent by members of the VEE to the EC.
Robert O'Hara Burke's dispatch, Swan Hill, 6 September 1860. 3 pages.


Blue Background

Swan Hill, Murray River.
September 6th 1860.


I have the honor to report that the Expedition arrived here today - all well.

Two of the drays containing some of our stores which left us at the Inverness Hotel for the purpose of proceeding on the highroad have been delayed in consequence of the late heavy rains and we shall be obliged to await their arrival here.

Mr Hodgkinson accounted himself to me [on] the road [all ?] yesterday [Wednesday 5th?] and handed me a dispatch containing enclosures communicated below.
Thank you for your immediate attention to my requests.

I have just heard that all the drays are within

Doctor Macadam.
Secretary, Royal Society



two days journey of this.

Under any circumstances I shall be obliged to remain here for four or five days to effect some changes in the organization of the party to make an inventory of and repack the stores; to alter and repair the camel and horse saddles, and to endeavour to reduce the weight of our baggage as much as possible without interfering with our efficiency.

I am informed by Mr Foster, Supt of Police, that our best route to the Darling is by Balranald, on the Murrumbidgee, to Lake Menindee, Payne's public house, about two miles above the junction and all concur in stating that the route by the junction recommended



by Cpt Cadell would be a most circuitous and inadvisable course and I request that no further steps may be taken for sending stores here until I receive further and more certain information. Please to communicate immediately with Mr Nash upon the subject. I have only just arrived here and I write in great haste and the post is about to close.

My next mail I will forward a report of all my proceedings

I remain your most obt sr,
R O'Hara Burke,

1. Memorandum of agreement, leaders copy.
2. Instructions for the leader.
3. Copy of ditto (sealed).
4. Instructions for Geologist.
5. Instructions for Surveyor.
6. Instructions for Botanist.
7. Instructions for Surveyor (leaders copy).
8. Instructions for Geologist and Botanist (leaders copy).
9. Blank cheque book.


Swan Hill,
August [sic] 6, 1860

My dear Nash,
I have only just arrived here and received your letter and the post is going out, so I have only just time to write a line.

I certainly do not know under what circumstances a man can be arrested for not meeting his cheque but if Mr Montgomery, as I suspect, for the sake of his fee, meant to insinuate that I had committed myself in any way, that is to say that I had done anything wilfully to mislead, if I live to return I will make it a caution to him. I do not believe under that under any other circumstances a man can be arrested for a dishonoured cheque.

The cheque was given to Flanman(?), £50 for another fellow, Flanmann(?) promised not to use it without notice and the day before I left Melbourne I asked Taylor (Frederick Taylor of Castlemaine) to settle the matter for me, and he told me he would see that I was not compromised in any way, and I left town under the impression that the cheque would not be handed to you before five or six months. I wish you could see Taylor and tell him what has occurred. He could explain how it was that I left the thing unsettled, and if he does not do so then I shall suffer in the opinion of the Chief Justice. Tell Taylor I hope and trust he will do so, as I relied upon his promise that I should not be compromised. I do not owe another shilling, but I should not care about being in debt but there is something about this which does not look well.

Pray write to me again upon the subject. You have no idea how this has troubled me.

The watches have been received. I have only just arrived here and it is impossible for me to say as yet about the stores, but do not send them until you hear from me by next post. I have written officially to Macadam. Grain and the pack-saddles pray send up here immediately without waiting to hear from me. I have just heard that the flour ought also to be sent up here, but I have not yet obtained any authentic information. As delay, however, would be most injurious I do not think you could make any mistake in sending it.

Pray let me know distinctly why Montgomery said he could arrest me. The present manager of the bank at Castlemaine (I forget his name) was present when I gave the cheque to Flanman(?)

Swan Hill,
August 6, 1860.

My dear Nash,
I fear I have written a lot of contradictory stuff in my registered letter, but I was really and still feel quite upset by that infernal cheque.

This, however, is my last word - pray do not take any further steps about sending up stores or any other articles until you hear from me again.

I have heard such a number of contradictory statements, and there are many conflicting interests here that it will take some time to sift them and get at the truth, and I have only been here a couple of hours yet.

Remember me to Scratchley. I will write to him by next post.

Yours very truly,
R O'Hara Burke.

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