The Unforgiving Outback


They finally reached Cooper’s Creek on April 21, only to find the camp
There was a message cut into a tree “DIG 3 FEET N.W.”. They did
so, and found some supplies, and a letter explaining that the party had given up
waiting, and had left only that morning. Burke’s team had missed them by only 9

The three men again left the camp. Wills became too weak to continue, so they
left him behind with some food. Burke died on June 20. King returned to Wills,
but found that he was already dead. He found a tribe of aborigines willing to
give him food and shelter, and there he stayed until he was found by a search
party on September 18.

Meanwhile, William Brahe decided to go back to Cooper’s Creek and check to see
if they had returned. When he arrived, the three men had already left for the
cattle station and the camp was again deserted. He assumed that they had never
been there, and he did not think to check to see if the supplies were still
buried. He left to rejoin the main party.

One comment

  1. This story was in “Down Under” by Bill Bryson. He describes all the things in Australia that can kill you…and I conveniently read the book while vacationing down there.

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