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A macabre memento from the Burke and Wills expedition

08 February 2022

Could this be the most bizarre item in the Library's collection?

In this episode of Mystery Box, Librarian Daniel Wee shows us a small collection of 160 year-old hair belonging to the ill-fated explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, along with a handful of camel hair, which form part of the wide-ranging Burke and Wills Collection.

A curious keepsake by today's standards, Daniel speculates these serve as a reminder of our own mortality and were likely taken from deceased members of the expedition party when they were found by Alfred William Howitt.

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About Mystery Box

In the Mystery Box video series, we bring to light some of the most extraordinary items in State Library Victoria's expansive collection. Join us as we unbox unique treasures, and explore the stories they have to tell.

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