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Successful Exploration Through the Interior of Australia   By: (1834-1861)

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First Page:

SUCCESSFUL EXPLORATION

THROUGH THE INTERIOR OF

AUSTRALIA,

FROM MELBOURNE TO THE GULF OF CARPENTARIA.

FROM THE JOURNALS AND LETTERS OF

WILLIAM JOHN WILLS.

EDITED BY HIS FATHER, WILLIAM WILLS.

LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET, PUBLISHER IN ORDINARY TO HER MAJESTY. 1863.

DEDICATED,

BY PERMISSION,

TO HIS GRACE

THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, K.G., ETC., ETC., ETC.

BY HIS GRACE'S

FAITHFUL SERVANT,

WILLIAM WILLS. JANUARY, 1863.

PREFACE.

A life terminating before it had reached its meridian, can scarcely be expected to furnish materials for an extended biography. But the important position held by my late son, as second in command in what is now so well known as the Burke and Wills Exploring Expedition across the Island Continent of Australia; the complicated duties he undertook as Astronomer, Topographer, Journalist, and Surveyor; the persevering skill with which he discharged them, suggesting and regulating the march of the party through a waste of eighteen hundred miles, previously untrodden by European feet; his courage, patience, and heroic death; his self denial in desiring to be left alone in the desert with scarcely a hope of rescue, that his companions might find a chance for themselves; these claims on public attention demand that his name should be handed down to posterity in something more than a mere obituary record, or an official acknowledgment of services.

A truthful, though brief, memoir of my son's short career, may furnish a stimulating example, by showing how much can be accomplished in a few years, when habits of prudence and industry have been acquired in early youth. He fell a victim to errors not originating with himself; but he resigned his life without a murmur, having devoted it to science and his country. His death, with the circumstances attending it, furnishes an application of the lines of a favourite poet, which he often quoted with admiration:

Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And departing leave behind us Footsteps on the sands of time; Footprints that perhaps another, Sailing o'er Life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwreck'd brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.

The following pages are the only tribute a fond and mourning father can offer to the memory of one who, while living, merited and reciprocated his warmest affections.

WILLIAM WILLS.

London, January, 1863.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER 1. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

Birth. Infancy. Boyhood and Early Education. Youthful Traits of Character.

CHAPTER 2.

My two Sons leave England for Australia. Incidents of the Voyage. Extracts from Journal. Arrival at Port Phillip. Melbourne. Employed as Shepherds in the Interior. Mode of Life. Melbourne in 1853. Advice to Immigrants. Descriptive Letters from the Bush.

CHAPTER 3.

I arrive in Australia. Join my two Sons at their Sheep station. Return to Melbourne and Remove to Ballaarat. Visit to Mr. Skene. My son studies Surveying. His Rapid Proficiency. Appointed to take Charge of a Party. Letters on various Subjects to his Mother and Brother at Home.

CHAPTER 4.

My Son is appointed to the Magnetic Observatory at Melbourne, under Professor Neumayer. His Rapid Advance in the Study of Magnetism and Mineralogy. Letters to his Relatives at Home, descriptive of his Pursuits, Wishes, and Sentiments. First suggestions of his Probable Employment on the Exploring Expedition.

CHAPTER 5.

Postponement of the Exploring Expedition projected at the beginning of 1860. My Son's Letter to his Sister on going into Society. Mr. Birnie's Opinion of him, and Extract from his Lecture. Letter from William to his Mother on Religious Views and Definitions of Faith. His last Communications to his family at Home, before the Departure of the Expedition.

CHAPTER 6. THE EXPEDITION.

How the Expedition originated... Continue reading book >>




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