1861-2. Victoria. Burke and Wills Commission. Report of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into and report upon the circumstances connected with The Sufferings and Death of Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, the Victorian Explorers. Presented to Both Houses of Parliament by His Excellency's Command.

Burke and Wills Commission. Report of the Commissioners…
1861-2. Victoria. Burke and Wills Commission. Report of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into and report upon the circumstances connected with The Sufferings and Death of Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, the Victorian Explorers. Presented to Both Houses of Parliament by His Excellency's Command.

Melbourne: John Ferres, Government Printer, 1862.

Foolscap folio, 104 pp., printed on light blue paper, edges uncut; half calf.

'A far greater amount of zeal than prudence…'

Official report of the Royal Commission appointed to investigate the Burke and Wills disaster: 'now very scarce and of high interest' (Australian Rare Books).

Official report of the Royal Commission appointed to investigate the Burke and Wills disaster: 'now very scarce and of high interest' (Australian Rare Books).

When news of the tragedy reached Melbourne, public interest in the affair reached near hysterical proportions, and a Royal Commission had been set up even before King returned to Melbourne. The commissioners apportioned blame for the debacle three ways: the expedition's over-enthusiastic (some would say incompetent) leader Robert O'Hara Burke; the careless overseer William Wright; and the indecisive Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria. Although it concluded that Wright appeared 'to have been reprehensible in the highest degree', Burke was also chastised for displaying 'a far greater amount of zeal than prudence…overtaxing the powers of his party', and also for his failure to keep a regular journal.

The appendices of this report, totalling some 28 pages, are of great historical interest as they print Burke's instructions from the Exploration Committee, numerous despatches from Wright and Burke, a good part of the journals of Wright and Wills, the narrative of John King, and William Brahe's report of June 1861.

Wantrup, 167.

Price (AUD): $1,950.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504502

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