John Murray's comprehensive map of Eastern Australia, drawn for the Royal Geographical Society, charts the paths of several expeditions launched in search of the lost explorers Burke and Wills. This important early map not only marks the routes of these exploratory journeys but also highlights the significant landmarks and encampments along the way.
The map encompasses the eastern coast of Australia, including the states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. It delineates the expeditionary routes of explorers McKinlay, Landborough, and Walker, among others, all of whom were involved in the search for the ill-fated Burke and Wills.
Burke and Wills were part of the Victorian Exploring Expedition, the first official government-backed expedition with the aim of traversing Australia from south to north. Regrettably, they lost their way and became isolated from the main party, leading to their tragic demise due to starvation in the desolate outback. Their fate sparked a series of expeditions in search of them, the routes of which are intricately detailed in this map.
John McKinlay, a Scottish explorer, and his party were dispatched to find Burke and Wills. They managed to locate their remains and subsequently transported them back to Melbourne. Similarly, Landborough, another member of the expedition, took part in the search for the lost explorers. He, too, was instrumental in the recovery of their remains and their subsequent return to Melbourne, where they were met with a hero's reception.
Walker, another explorer involved in the search, led a group of Aboriginal guides across the continent. Their collective knowledge and expertise proved invaluable to the search parties, contributing significantly to the understanding of the vast Australian terrain.
In its detailed presentation of the search for Burke and Wills, John Murray's map stands as an important historical document, shedding light on the exploratory endeavours of the time and the tragic fate of the lost explorers.