State Library of Victoria \ Dig: the Burke & Wills research gateway
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» Wills' field books

Wills' field books

Wills set out with a supply of these specially-printed fieldbooks in which each opening provides for a single day's record-keeping.  The left hand page is used to record daily readings of temperature, humidity and wind.  In navigational practice, the day begins at midday, so the first hour after midnight, which would be 1 am by the clock, is here '13' (hours).

The central column of the right hand page is used to record each day's travel in terms of compass bearings, distances travelled, terrain and landmarks.  It reads upwards from the bottom of the page.  This information allowed Wills to record their course and position by 'dead reckoning', in addition to the more complex process of navigation by astronomical observation.

Australian Manuscripts Collection, MS 13071, Box 2082/6 (h)