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» Robert O'Hara Burke's last notes

Robert O'Hara Burke's last notes

First note

On April 21 1861, Burke, Wills and King arrived at Camp LXV (65) at Cooper's Creek, only to find it had been deserted earlier that day.  They uncovered a buried box of supplies and messages, and left this note when they re-buried the box. 'Gregory' is Augustus Charles Gregory, who had explored previously in South Australia.

 Depot No. 2 Cooper Cr./Camp No. LXV
The returned party from Carpentaria consisting of myself Wills and King (Grey dead) arrived here last night and found that the depot party had only started on the same day. We proceed on slowly down the creek towards Adelaide by Mt Hopeless and shall endeavour to follow Gregory's track but we are very weak. The two camels are done up and we shall not be able to travel faster than four or five miles a day. Grey died on the road from exhaustion and fatigue. We have all suffered much from hunger. The provisions left here will, I think, restore our strength.

We have discovered a practicable route to Carpentaria the chief portion of which lies on the 140th meridian of east longitude. There is some good country between this and the stony desert. From there to the Tropic the country is dry and stony between the Tropic and Carpentaria.

The camels cannot travel and we cannot walk or we should follow the other party. We shall move very slowly down the creek - A considerable portion is rangy but it is well watered and richly grassed. We reached the shores of Carpentaria on the 11th of Feby 1861 - greatly disappointed at finding the party here gone. R O'Hara Burke - Leader

April 22nd 1861

Second note

Later, after they had been trying to head south-west along Cooper's Creek for more than two months, Burke was close to death. He died within a few days of writing this note. 

For the Committee - Cooper's Creek 26th June 1861

I hope we shall be done justice by. We fulfilled our task but we were (aband-) not followed up as I expected and the Depot party abandoned their post. ROH Burke

King has behaved nobly and I hope he will be properly cared for