In 1860’s Australia, there was fierce competition between the colonies to map the interior and host the terminus of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line. Only one thing stood in their way; the Australian continent.
In 1860 Burke and Wills departed Melbourne with much fanfare, arriving on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1861. Eighteen weeks later, their expedition ended in tragedy on the banks of Cooper’s Creek. The ‘Dig Tree’, a lonely coolibah under which supplies had been buried, still stands to this day.
In that same year, John McDouall Stuart set off from Adelaide to cross the continent, reaching the north coast east of Darwin on the July 24, 1862. They returned home safely, maintaining Stuart’s impeccable record of never losing a man.
The story of these brave explorers is utterly fascinating, and retracing part of their expeditions makes for an incredible adventure.