See also:born at St Cleram, Co .
See also:Ireland, in 1820 . Descended from a branch of the
See also:family of
See also:Clanricarde, he was educated in Belgium, and at twenty years of age entered the
See also:Austrian army, in which he attained. the
See also:rank of captain . In 1848 he
See also:left the Austrian service, and became a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary . Five years later he emigrated to
See also:Tasmania, andshortly afterwards crossed to Melbourne, where he became an inspector of
See also:police . When the
See also:Crimean War broke out he went to England in the hope of securing a commission in the army, but peace had meanwhile been signed, and he returned to
See also:Victoria and resumed his police duties . At the end of 1857 the Philosophical Institute of Victoria took up the question of the exploration of the interior of the Australian continent,and appointed a
See also:committee to inquire into and
See also:report upon the subject . In
See also:September 1858, when it became known that
See also:John McDouall
See also:Stuart had succeeded in penetrating as far as the centre of
See also:Australia, the sum of £r000 was anonymously offered for the promotion of an expedition to
See also:cross the continent from south to
See also:north, on
See also:condition that a further sum of £2000 should be sub-scribed within a twelvemonth . The amount having been raised within the
See also:time specified, the Victorian parliament supplemented it by a
See also:vote of £6000, and an expedition was organized under the leadership of Burke, with W . J .
See also:Wills as surveyor and astronomical observer . The
See also:story of this expedition, which left Melbourne on the 21st of
See also:August 1860, furnishes perhaps the most painful
See also:episode in Australian
See also:annals .
Ten Europeans and three Sepoys accompanied the expedition, which was soon torn by
See also:internal dissensions . Near Menindie on the Darling, Landells, Burke's second in command, became insubordinate and resigned, his example being followed by the doctor—a German . On the rrth of
See also:November Burke, with Wills and five assistants, fifteen horses and sixteen camels, reached
See also:Cooper's Creek in
See also:Queensland, where a
See also:depot was formed near
See also:good grass and abundance of
See also:water . Here Burke proposed waiting the arrival of his third officer,
See also:Wright, whom he had sent back from Torowoto to Menindie to fetch some camels and supplies . Wright, however, delayed his departure until the 26th of
See also:January 1861 . Meantime, weary of waiting, Burke, with Wills,
See also:King and
See also:Gray as companions, determined on the 16th of
See also:December to push on across the continent, leaving an assistant named Brahe to take care of the depot until Wright's arrival . On the 4th of
See also:February 1861 Burke and his party, worn down by
See also:famine, reached the estuary of the
See also:river, not far from the
See also:present site of Normantown on the Gulf of
See also:Carpentaria . On the 26th of February began their return
See also:journey . The party suffered greatly from famine and exposure, and but for the
See also:season, thirst would have speedily ended their miseries . In vain they looked for the
See also:relief which Wright was to bring them . On the 16th of
See also:April Gray died, and the emaciated survivors halted a
See also:day to bury his
See also:body . That day's delay, as it turned out, cost Burke and Wills their lives; they arrived at Cooper's Creek to find the depot deserted .
But a few
See also:hours before Brahe, unrelieved by Wright, and thinking that Burke had died or changed his plans, had taken his departure for the Darling . With such assistance as they could get from the natives, Burke, and his two companions struggled on, until
See also:death overtook Burke and Wills at the end of
See also:June . King sought the natives, who cared for him until his relief by a
See also:search party in September . No one can deny the heroism of the men whose lives were sacrificed in this
See also:ill-starred expedition . But it is admitted that the leaders were not
See also:bushmen and had had no experience in exploration . Disunion and disobedience to orders, from the highest to the lowest, brought about the worst results, and all that now remains to tell the story of the failure of this vast undertaking is a
See also:monument to the memory of the foolhardy heroes, from the
See also:chisel of
See also:Charles Summers, erected on a prominent site in Melbourne .
SIR JOHN BERNARD BURKE (1814–1892)
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