Towards base camp
This work shows Burke and Wills in a scene of utter desolation. The camel wanders aimlessly, while above them cockatoos screech and taunt them for their incapacity to fit into the natural world around them.
The striped surveyor's pole and scribed co-ordinates represent the explorer's attempt to survey and mark the natural world. They are also tools of conquest and possession.
Nineteenth century attempts to emulate nature can be seen in the clockwork model birds. Man could emulate nature, but not necessarily survive in its raw state.