Welcome to 'The Burke & Wills Walk 2008'.
Thank you for taking the time to find out more about this amazing trip.
What is 'The Walk' about ?
'The Burke & Wills Walk 2008' saw one person, Dave Phoenix, walk the entire way across Australia following the route taken by Burke and Wills in 1860-1.
The walk followed the faded footsteps of the explorers. It traced the original track as faithfully as possible, and crossed the continent in the same number of days as the original and at the same time of year as the original.
Burke didn't walk though, surely he rode horses and camels ?
Although early expeditions in Australia did not have enough livestock for all members to be mounted, by the middle of the nineteenth century it was common practice to have enough animals for everyone to ride.
The Burke & Wills Expedition was lavishly equipped and no expense was spared in outfitting the party. Camels had been imported into Australia specially for the expedition and this was the first time camels were used on an Australian expedition.
Nineteen men, twenty-seven camels, eight pack-horses, one riding horse, six wagons and thirty-four wagon-horses left Royal Park, Melbourne on Monday, 20 August 1860 amid great fanfare and celebration.
Despite the extensive preparations and great expenditure, not every expedition member had a mount. Although Burke rode a horse out of Royal Park and Wills rode a camel, some of the men employed on the greatest expedition ever seen walked out of Melbourne.
The expedition made slow progress due to the vast quantity of stores and the poor condition of the roads. Six weeks after leaving the city Burke decided to use all his livestock as pack-animals. He told the men;
'...from today, [they] had to walk, inch for inch, all the way up to the Gulf of Carpentaria.'
'Walk, inch for inch, all the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria....'