In 1860, an eccentric Irish police officer named Robert O'Hara Burke led a cavalcade of camels, wagons and men out of Melbourne. Accompanied by William Wills, a shy English scientist, he was prepared to risk everything to become the first European to cross the Australian continent. A few months later, an ancient coolibah tree at Cooper Creek bore a strange carving: 'Dig Under 3ft NW'. Burke, Wills and five other men were dead. The expedition had become an astonishing tragedy.
Sarah Murgatroyd reveals new historical and scientific evidence to tell the story of the disaster with all its heroism and romance, its discoveries, coincidences, and lost opportunities. This is a spell-binding book.
"Sarah Murgatroyd deftly captures the foolishness, suffering and hapless heroism of one of the 19th-century's least-known, but most epic, undertakings. I can almost guarantee that you will be biting your nails by the time you reach the Dig Tree of the title - and more than that I cannot say without spoiling this remarkable and addictive tale." (Bill Bryson)
"Conveys an experts grasp of her material. The Dig Tree is unlikely to be superseded...instinctive and convincing." (Times Literary Supplement)
"Sarah Murgatroyd was a splendid writer. This book is a masterpiece of exploration history - entertaining, trenchant, a marvel." (National Geographic)
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The race to cross the Australian interior
Essential Reading for Vistors to the Key Sites
- Robin Dobson