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It is a tragedy that Australia forgets to celebrate those who travelled this vast land and gave us the gift that we enjoy today: a life that many used to envy and is being destroyed by ill educated bureaucrats and politicians. 

Teachers who no longer teach. Parents who no longer parent. News channels who do not report what is new but simply churn out regurgitated media lies instead of truth.

Someone said that too many Australians have forgotten the real history of Australia. And I agree. 

About  a year ago, I asked Malcolm to do a reading of Robert Frost's poem " The Road Not Taken. " 

How fortunate we are that Burke and Wills took the road less travelled.

Robert O’Hara Burke, William John Wills, John King and Charles Gray became the first Europeans to cross Australia south to north when they reached the Gulf of Carpentaria in February 1861.

I often wonder what went through their minds as they embarked on their journey on the road less travelled. 

No doubt there was trepidation in their hearts. 

As they departed with their camels and supplies, watched by 15,000 people, a day of historical significance was being witnessed. The expedition’s departure from Royal Park, Melbourne on 20 August 1860 was a truly monumental event.

The expedition reached Menindee near Broken Hill in New South Wales on 23 September 1860. Burke decided to leave most of the equipment there while he led a small advance party to Cooper Creek in western Queensland to establish a ‘depot’. 

I have been to the site and it is quite an amazing place to visit. Forget the gay pride marches. go and experience the essence of Australia at the Dig Tree.

Burke left Menindee local William Wright in charge of supplies with instructions to bring these to Cooper Creek ‘soon’. However, three months passed before Wright left Menindee.

Burke’s party arrived at Cooper Creek on 11 November 1860. Just over a month later he divided the exploring party again, setting off with Wills, King and Gray for the Gulf of Carpentaria. William Brahe was left in charge of the depot with instructions to wait three months for their return.

On about 9 February 1861 the four explorers reached the Bynoe River, near the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Burke and Wills left the other two and tried to walk to the ocean but were unable to find a way through the mangrove swamps. The group started their return journey to Cooper Creek on 12 February 1861.

On 17 April 1861, four days before reaching their destination, Gray died from malnutrition. source

The " white male supremacy"  was no match for the harsh Australian Outback.

Extreme heat and illness forced the party to rest at the Bulloo River where Charles Stone, William Purcell and Ludwig Becker died of malnutrition and dysentery between 22 and 29 April. On 5 June 1861 William Patton also died.

Meanwhile, at the Cooper Creek depot, Brahe who had waited four months for Burke’s return, decided to return to Menindee on 21 April 1861.

He buried a cache of food and a note stating his intention at the foot of a coolabah tree. Into the tree he engraved the directions, ‘DIG 3FT NW APR 21 1861’. The tree has entered Australian folklore as the ‘Dig Tree’.source

 

About nine hours after Brahe departed, Burke, Wills and King arrived. They found the cache, which had enough supplies for a month, but instead of following Brahe back to Menindee or staying at the depot, on 22 April 1861 they decided to head south west to try to reach a station at Mount Hopeless.

The name says it all.

Burke, Wills and King buried a message of their own under the Dig Tree explaining their plans. They were careful to leave no trace that they had been there so that Aboriginal people would not dig up the letter.

Their efforts were so successful that Brahe, who had encountered Wright’s supply party on 29 April and had returned with Wright to the Cooper's Creek depot on 8 May, believed that the Dig Tree cache remained undisturbed and that Burke’s party had not returned from the Gulf.

Brahe too left no indication of his visit, so that when Wills doubled back for one last look at the depot on 27 May 1861, he found nothing to suggest that anyone had returned to search for them.

Burke and Wills died within a few days of each other at the end of June 1861.

Wills died alone, having urged the other two to leave him and keep searching for Yandruwandha people who had been generous with their food and had been hospitable since the expedition had arrived at Cooper Creek.

King eventually found the Yandruwandha people, who accepted him into their community and saved his life.

In his 1861–62 testimony on the Yandruwandha, King said, ‘They appeared to feel great compassion for me when they understood that I was alone on the creek, and gave me plenty to eat.’

Burke and Wills died of malnutrition, which was accelerated by the onset of beri-beri – a deficiency of thiamine, vitamin B1. The explorers contracted beri-beri by eating nardoo, a clover-like plant which contains an enzyme that breaks down thiamine

Nardoo was regularly eaten by the Yandruwandha people. They carefully prepared the plant to eliminate the enzyme and gave it to the explorers. Burke and Wills, however, ate the plants raw. source

The bodies of Wills and Burke were also found and buried. Their remains were later recovered and re-buried in Melbourne. They were given Australia’s first state funeral on 21 January 1863.

All I can say is that if we want to live harmonious lives together as one people, we need to have a UNITED VOICE.

Not a voice that excludes and divides.

Can we stop being moslem, jew, white, black, gay, bi, trans or bloody any other leftie alphabet letter and just be Australian?

We are losing our way.

As I asked Malcolm to read the poem by Robert Frost, I kept thinking about why our government keeps dividing us.

 

 We are all Australians.

Can we just unite?

But, of course, as Burke and Wills taught us all those years ago, travelling the road less travelled can come at a huge cost.

For myself, the day I saw the Dig Tree, I thought of the people who built this nation. 

And they sure as hell didn't sip lattes in a coffee shop in Melbourne or fly in on a wing and a prayer to eat from the goodie bag of government largesse.

The indigenous people tried to help Burke and Wills.

Can we not get back to this?

Helping each other?

Becoming a better, united Australia?

Monty.

 

 

 

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patriot@patriotrealm.com

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