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Biographical entry Burke, Robert O'Hara (1821 - 1861)

Born
1821
St Clerans, County Galway, Ireland
Died
1861
Australia
Occupation
Explorer

Summary

Robert O'Hara Burke was the leader of the Victorian Exploring Expedition in 1860 to 1861, the first expedition to cross Australia from south to north. He was educated at the Woolwich Academy in the United Kingdom and served as a lieutenant in a cavalry regiment and in the Austrian army until 1848, when he joined the Irish Mounted Constabulary. In 1853 he migrated to Victoria, joining the Victorian Police and rising to become Superintendent in the Castlemaine district. Although inexperienced in exploration and bushcraft Burke was selected as leader of the Expedition, which was organised by the Royal Society of Victoria with support from the colonial Government. Having left most of the expedition members and supplies at bases at Menindee and Cooper Creek, Burke and a small party reached the Gulf of Carpentaria but he died of starvation at Cooper Creek on the way back.

Details

Events

1848 - 1853
Career position - Member of the Irish Mounted Constabulary
1853
Career position - Acting Inspector at Carlsruhe, Victoria Police
1853
Life event - Migrated to Australia
1854 - 1858
Career position - Senior Inspector at Beechworth, Victoria Police
1858 - 1860
Career position - Superintendent of Police, Castlemaine district, Victoria Police
1860 - 1861
Career position - Leader of the Victorian Exploring Expedition

Related Events

Published resources

Books

  • Bonyhady, Tim, Burke and Wills: from Melbourne to myth (Balmain (N.S.W.): David Ell Press, 1991), 383 pp. Details
  • Joyce, E. Bernie and Mccann, Douglas A., Burke and Wills: the Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition (Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing, 2011), 368 pp. Details
  • Murgatroyd, Sara, The Dig Tree: the Story of Burke and Wills (Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2000), 372 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen, 'The Burke and Wills Expedition and the Royal Society of Victoria', Historical Studies, 40 (May) (1963). Details
  • Phoenix, Dave, ''All Burke's Books &c Have Been Saved': the Burke and Wills Papers in the State Library of Victoria', La Trobe Journal, 86 (2010), 3-22. Details

Resources

Reviews

  • Joyce, E. Bernie and Mccann, Douglas A., Burke and Wills: the scientific legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition (2011)
    Garden, Don, Victorian Historical Journal, 86 (2), (2015), 385-7. Details
  • Joyce, E. Bernie and Mccann, Douglas A., Burke and Wills: the Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition (2011)
    Morton, Anne, Victorian naturalist, 129, (2012), 122. Details

See also

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn