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Burke and Wills: the scientific legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition

Edited by EB Joyce and DA McCann
RRP $59.95
Published by CSIRO in association with the State Library of Victoria
Hardback 368 pp Illustrated ISBN 9780643103320
 
The Royal Society of Victoria initiated the Victorian Exploring Expedition as a serious scientific exploration of the hitherto unexplored centre of Australia. Members of the expedition were sent 10 pages of detailed instructions on scientific measurements and observations to be carried out, covering about a dozen areas of science. The tragic ending of the expedition meant that the results of the scientific investigations were not reported or published.

The book includes the original instructions as well as numerous paintings and drawings. It documents the actual science undertaken as recorded in notebooks and diaries, and analyses the outcomes. It reveals for the first time the true extent and limits of the scientific achievements of both the Burke and Wills expedition and the various relief expeditions which followed.

Importantly, this new book has led to a re-appraisal of the successes of the journey. It will be a compelling read for historians of science and natural history, and those interested in Australian history and heritage.

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