Strutt, William (1825-1915; English)
The Burke and Wills Exploring Expedition: the first day’s order of march 1862
Watercolour, 12.4 x 49.2 cm (visible image)
Presented by the artist, 1902
State Library of Victoria (H5107)

The inscription below the image reads: “The Burke and Wills Exploring Expedition: the first day’s order of march: drawn from nature by William Strutt 1862 {sic}.”

Less than a year after its grand departure from Melbourne’s Royal Park on August 20th, 1860 (with 19 men, 23 horses, 6 wagons, 26 camels and over 20 tons of supplies), the expedition to discover Australia’s inland sea ended in disaster, with both Burke and Wills dying near Cooper Creek in late June/early July 1861.

Strutt, who worked in Australia from 1850-62, was fascinated by the Burke and Wills saga, and, late in life, painted The Burial of Burke (1911; also in the State Library collection).


AR 1902, p.18; NGV 1905, p.147 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 8th bay, no.1) 

For Strutt, see linked artist entry. See also Sarah Murgatroyd, The Dig Tree: the Story of Burke and Wills, Melbourne: Text, 2002