Starvation in a Land of Plenty: Wills’ Diary of the Fateful Burke and Wills Expedition


When Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills set out on their fateful journey with the Victorian Exploring Expedition, Wills brought with him a diary in which to record his experiences. His entries would go on to help historians understand the circumstances that led to the tragic end of the expedition. Today, the diary is held by the National Library of Australia and forms the foundation of Starvation in a Land of Plenty. Between 23 April and 28 June 1861, Wills documented the torments and disappointments that led to his and Burke’s destruction. Surprising to many, though, Wills was not the second-in-command but, rather, the party’s ‘surveyor, astronomical and meteorological observer’. His resulting misfortune and the words he left behind have transformed the young English surveyor into both an Australian martyr and hero. Combined with images from the Library’s collection, this poignant and telling publication draws on Wills’ at times matter-of-fact account of his fatal weeks, revealing him to have been a man of great dignity and bravery.

Publisher: National Library Australia

Date Published: 2013

Book Condition: Near fine stiff soft cover with French flaps showing minimal wear to the cover and throughout the text.

ISBN: 9780642277909

ISBN: 9780642277909

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