On their return journey, Burke, Wills and King had missed their relief party at Cooper’s Creek by a few hours. As their supplies ran low, they tried to survive by eating nardoo. The sporocarps (seed-like spore cases) of the nardoo fern were an important food for the local Yandruwandha aboriginal people but the explorers did not know the correct way to prepare it. Unless roasted, the nardoo paste contained an enzyme that broke down thiamine in their bodies causing beriberi, a condition caused by deficiency of vitamin B1. Burke and Wills died in late June 1861 but John King was cared for by the Yandruwandha and was still alive in September when search parties finally arrived.
Application of Robert O’Hara Burke
Crossing an ancient crater
Crossing the Terrick-Terrick Plains
View from Mt. Hope. Pyramid Hill bearing S. 30W. Sep. 1. 60
Near our camp at Spewah, Sep. 12. 60
Sketch of route from Balranald to Scot's Station, roughly drawn by dead reckoning.
Nord. end of the Pass through the Muntanie Ranges
Small cavity in Mutwanji Gorge with native drawings and impressions
What does it mean to be an explorer?
Camp on the edge of the earthy or mud plains
Jack Thompson farewells the Burke and Wills Environmental Expedition
Dr Paul Sinclair farewells the Burke and Wills Environmental Expedition
Re-Crossing Terrick-Terrick Plains
Re-crossing Mount Hope
The Arumpo Station region, then and now.
Menindee Then and Now
Jack Thompson talks about nardoo
Burke's Tree Then and Now
Wills’s map from Coopers Creek to the Gulf of Carpentaria
Crocodiles Then and Now
Story education resources
Education Public Record Office: Burke and Wills Graphic Exercise
A close look at the Burke and Wills monument reveals much about the way that Burke and Wills were remembered. Images and questions are provided to produce a short essay on the Burke and Wills statue in central Melbourne. VELS History Standard – Level 6
Education State Library of Victoria: Dig, The Burke and Wills Research Gateway
This website provides two education packages allowing learners to engage with a major event in a way that crosses many areas of the curriculum.
The first package provides lesson plans across five major curriculum areas: science, history, English, geography and art. The second package provides lesson plans for VELS Level 4 (Years 5 and 6), designed as an integrated unit across the curriculum.
Education State Library of Victoria: Deforestation in Victoria
Activities, worksheets and resources are provided to explore environmental issues such as deforestation and introduced species. Historical and contemporary maps show the changes in Victoria's forest coverage between 1969 and 1987. VELS Level 5