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The Dig Tree: The Extraordinary Story of the Ill-fated Burke and Wills 1860 Expedition Paperback – 6 Jan 2003
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"Sarah Murgatroyd tells an exciting story" -- The Historical Novels Review, Augsut 2002
"excellent book" -- The People 15th February
'A beautifully told story' -- Sunday Telegraph
'Exhaustively researched and beautifully written, insightful and entertaining, and will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in exploration history' -- Adventure Travel
'Murgatroyd demonstrates a profound understanding of topography and climate in this gripping tale' -- Sunday Times
'Murgatroyd picks her way with forensic care through a tangle of flawed characters, fatal near-misses, betrayals, dignified last words and dubious maps' -- Evening Standard
In 1860, Australia remained the truly dark continent. Although there were European settlements in its south, much of the north remained unknown and dangerous. But things were changing. On 20th August, 1860, The Victorian Exploring Expedition left Melbourne to make the journey into the Gulf of Carpentaria in the northern coast. The expedition was headed by an Irish policeman called Robert O' Hara Burke - a charmer, gambler, and a man infamous for taking long baths in his back garden. Burke and his team of eighteen men made a confident start. After leaving most of the group behind in Cooper Creek (in central Australia), three of the party, including Burke, reached the Carpentaria. They were the first ever to do so. But the journey back was riddled with mishap and bad luck. By the time the three had returned to Cooper Creek, exhausted and starving, they discovered that the rest of the party had retreated, leaving behind only a carved message on a coolibah tree. The "Dig Tree" is the tale of this tragic expedition.Sarah Murgatroyd brings the story vividly alive - the political events in the background, the colourful characters, the spectacular and, often, unforgiving landscape, and the awful desperation of the final days. It is an intelligent, evocative and above all, utterly gripping book. See all Product description
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expedition by Burke and wills took place 6oyears before Scott in 1860. Obviously the enemy was the heat in Burke and Wills, but both teams succumbed to starvation as a result of miscalculating the time to cover vast distances and the required calorie intact required by explorers under extremely arduous conditions. To date my choice of books have all been based on polar or mountaineering expeditions, but this has opened up new territories, quite literally, for me!
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