Burke and King left Wills alone in a gunyah on 29 or 30 June 1861. When King returned on the 5 or 6 of July, Wills was dead. King covered the corpse with sand. Howitt buried the body where it lay on 18 September 1861 and blazed a tree on the bank :
W J WILLS
In 1947 or 1948, Queensland grazier, Alfred Cory Towner blazed a tree in the creek at the site of Wills' death :
Towner also erected a pipe nearby which was inscribed…
WILLS DIED IN CREEK 1861
In 1996 Dave Phoenix placed sand and stones around the pipe to protect it from damage by tourists.
Mike Steel and Joe Mack of Rover Charter Tours built the cairn in 1973. Joe Mack of Waikerie in South Australia had wanted to erect a cairn in 1961, one hundred years after the death of Wills, but was unable to do so due to lack of interest and funding. Mike Steel raised the idea again in 1971 and in March 1973, erected the cairn. A television crew from ADS7 joined the team and the plaque was donated by Porter and Barnett, Adelaide photo engravers.
WILLIAM JOHN WILLS|
second-in-command of the
Burke & Wills expedition
Totnes, Devon , England 1834
near here about June 29 1861
Erected by the passengers of a Rover Charter Tour