Burke and Wills
The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition

Cloth: 978 0 643 10332 0 / $66.95
 
Published: February 2012  

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
368 pp., 6 3/4" x 9 3/4"
color illus
This book challenges the common assumption that little or nothing of scientific value was achieved during the Burke and Wills expedition.

The Royal Society of Victoria initiated the Victorian Exploring Expedition as a serious scientific exploration of the hitherto unexplored center of Australia. Members of the expedition were sent 10 pages of detailed instructions on scientific measurements and observations to be carried out, covering about a dozen areas of science. The tragic ending of the expedition meant that the results of the scientific investigations were not reported or published. Burke and Wills: The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition rectifies this historic omission.

It includes the original instructions as well as numerous paintings and drawings, documents the actual science undertaken as recorded in notebooks and diaries, and analyzes the outcomes. It reveals for the first time the true extent and limits of the scientific achievements of both the Burke and Wills expedition and the various relief expeditions which followed. Importantly, this new book has led to a re-appraisal of the successes of the journey.

KEY FEATURES
* Draws extensively on material held in the State Library of Victoria’s collection. This includes the original instructions from Macadam to members of the expedition, the sketchbooks of Becker, Beckler and Strutt, and Wills’ fieldbooks
* The book will lead to a re-appraisal of the successes of the journey

Table of Contents:
Conflicting priorities: exploration, science, politics and personal ambition
William John Wills as scientist
Geology, soils and landscapes of the expedition route
The botanical legacy of Ferdinand Mueller and Hermann Beckler
Zoology: an encounter with the fauna of Australia's unique arid environment
Hydrologic insights of inland Australia
Meteorology: a remarkable set of early inland observations
The space between: Aboriginal people, the Victorian Exploring Expedition and the relief parties
Conclusion: rewriting history


Related titles:

Share
Reviews & Endorsements:
"Overall, the volume does an important service by rescuing historical data that contributes to our scientific understanding of Australia's interior."
- Conor Burns, Ryerson University, Toronto , Journal of Anthropological Research
"This book challenges the common assumption that little or nothing of scientific value was achieved during the Burke and Wills expedition... Recommended for those with an interest in Australian natural history history."
- Birdbooker Report