« Writing Exercise on 'Community' | Main | We like Our Lizards Frilled NOT Grilled! »

Journaling and the Burke and Wills Expedition

Part of the reason why we know so much about Burke and Wills’ expedition is because of their journals that were discovered after their deaths. Wills’ writing style and discipline is especially worthy of note. It is remarkable that, day after day, in the harsh conditions the expedition team were exposed to and no doubt being very tired each evening, he was able to make daily entries of up to 400-500 words, with never a fault of spelling or grammar. His attention to detail, descriptions of events and observations in the environment they were passing through and behaviour of the other team members and animals provide us with (more than a century later) the means to reconstruct – as best we can - what actually happened.


Excerpts from Wills’ diary:
1. December 24th 1860
“We started from Coopers Creek, Camp 66, with the intention of going through the Eyre’s Creek without water. Loaded with 800 pints of water, four riding camels carrying 130 pints each, horse 150, two pack camels 50 each, and five pints each man.”

2. January 7th 1861
“As we proceeded, the country improved at every step. Flocks of pigeons rose and flew of to the eastward, and fresh plants met our view on every rise: everything green and luxuriant. The horse licked his lips, and tried all he could to break his nose string to get at the feed.”

3. January 30th
“After several unsuccessful attempts at getting Golah (the camel) out of the bed of the creek it was determined to try bringing him down until we could find a place for him to get out at; but after going on like this for two or three miles, it was found necessary to leave him behind, as it was almost impossible to get him through some of the waterholes…”

Suggested learning activities
- compare and contrast the three passages above. How are they different from each other in terms of the information they provide the reader?
- think of a journey you have taken recently. Write a short descriptive piece – ideally in your journal if you have one – of some of the more memorable experiences on the trip.
- If you don’t already write in a journal – start one today!


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 16, 2001 7:07 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Writing Exercise on 'Community'.

The next post in this blog is We like Our Lizards Frilled NOT Grilled!.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35