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Grave of a white man found
Title : Grave of a white man found Grave of a white man found
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Creator : McKinlay, John, 1819-1872
Source : McKinlay's journal of exploration in the interior of Australia: (Burke relief expedition), p. 11
Place Of Creation : Melbourne
Publisher : F.F. Bailliere
Date of creation : 1862
Additional Creator : Burke and Wills Expedition (1860-1861)
Format : Book
Catalogue record
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Description :

When the Victorian funded Burke and Wills Expedition was considered well overdue, the South Australian government offered to assist in the search and appointed John McKinlay. His expedition left from Kapunda, collected further stores at Blanchewater and moved forward to the Cooper Creek region. He was told by Aboriginal people that there was a grave of a white man nearby. He was determined to exhume the body to see if it was possible to identify it. McKinlay's second in command WO Hodgkinson found a battered pint pot, evidence of white men having been in the vicinity. The following day, 21 October 1861 McKinlay proceeded to open the grave with Hodgkinson. The body was dressed in a flannel shirt, and also bore what appeared to be sabre cuts.

McKinlay had found the body of Charles Gray, one of the members of the Burke and Wills expedition. The evidence suggested that he had died following an attack by some Aboriginal people. In fact he died of natural causes brought about by hard travel and inadequate food and only a few days before Robert O'Hara Burke, William Wills and John King reached the expected safety and resources of camp 65. However the depot was deserted; Burke's men had given up on the return of their leader and left earlier that very day taking with them the bulk of the provisions. Burke led Wills and King towards the police station at Mount Hopeless. They never reached it, and only John King survived, aided by the local Aboriginal people and finally rescued by another search expedition led by AW Howitt.
Related names :

McKinlay, John, 1819-1872

Burke, Robert O'Hara, 1821-1861

Wills, William John, 1834-1861

Coverage year : 1861
Place : Lake Massacre
Further reading :
Lockwood, Kim, Big John: the extraordinary adventures of John McKinlay 1819-1872 Melbourne: State Library of Victoria, 1995
Bonyhady, Tim, Burke & Wills: from Melbourne to myth Balmain, N.S.W.: David Ell Press, 1991
Morphett, George C. 'Gray's grave at Lake Massacre' Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (South Australian Branch), vol. 40, 1938/39, pp. 12-42
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. Taking it to the edge August 2004-



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