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Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2082/1b, Item 3.
Victorian Exploring Expedition Records, Dispatches sent by members of the VEE to the EC.
William John Wills dispatch, [Bilbarka], 7 October 1860. 2 pages.


Extract from my private journal having reference to Mr Landells resignation, copied at the request of Mr Burke. WJW

On Sunday the 7th October Mr Burke received a letter from Mr McPherson requesting him to come down to the station as all his shearers were drunk on some rum that they had obtained from our wagons. This confirmed our leader in a decision that he had before arrived at viz: " not to take the rum any further". The communication of this decision lead to some words with Mr Landells who insisted on taking the rum. To avoid further discussion out leader left the camp and Mr Landells immediately called me to receive the government clothes in his possession at the same time informing me that he should leave at once and that he would not accompany the party any further on any consideration. He then went out as he told me to look for the lost camels in order to deliver them to Mr Burke. On his way down to the station he also told the waggoners that he was about to leave the party.

I communicated what had passed to Mr Burke as soon as he returned. He was much surprised but as Mr Landells had left no message...



...for him, he did not think it proper to receive it as an official communication. When Mr Landells returned he repeated to Mr Burke in my presence, his determination to leave and asked to be dismissed. This Mr Burke refused to do but told him that if he would tender his resignation he would forward it with a recommendation that it should be accepted. In the evening of the next day, on my suggesting to Mr Landells that he might be placing himself in an unpleasant position by leaving without having given proper notice he said that "he had written out some conditions on which only he would go on." He read them to me, they were to this effect: that he should request a written agreement for he could not trust to Mr Burke's word in which our leader should consent to his having full and unqualified control of the camels, that they should travel just as many miles and no more than he (Mr Landells) thought proper, that they should start and stop when he chose, and that he should be allowed to take whatever stores he deemed necessary for their use up to the amount of four camels burthen. Mr Landells also told me that he had an agreement with the Committee requesting the management of the camels about which he believed Mr Burke knew nothing and he has frequently stated to me in stormy terms his disapproval of Mr Burke's management, especially as regards travelling.

William J Wills,
Surveyor and Astrr. Observer.


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