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Publisher's Summary

The iconic Australian exploration story - brought to life by Peter FitzSimons, Australia's storyteller.

'They have left here today!' he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.

Melbourne, 20 August 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, with 15,000 well-wishers cheering them on. Led by Robert O'Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26 camels.

Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local indigenous people.

In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition's depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills, Charley Gray and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale. Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in our nation's history - and their story remains immediate and compelling.

©2017 Peter FitzSimons (P)2017 Hachette Australia

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Highly recommended

Very interesting listen, extremely detailed, perhaps bordering on too much detail in sections which slows the pace of the book.

The narrator is very easy to listen to and I enjoyed the life he gives to the characters.

A great Australian tale to which all Australians should be familiar with, I was surprised at how much I didn’t know about the expedition as I thought I was fairly familiar!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing story

This story sits high amongst the best of Australian stories. Peter and the team have clearly exhaustingly researched this story from many angles resulting in a book that provides clear insight into all details of this fascinating story! Would recommend this to anyone who wants to know about the heroics of early explorers in Australia.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

good read

great book to listen to as you drive through the Australian outback. It gives good details of all aspects of the expedition, their personalities and major events.
However at times it was difficult to keep track of characters with similar names and to catch mention of what particular party was being spoken about while driving - rewinding the audio not being an option while at the wheel.
Overall a worthwhile way to spend driving time

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Great read.

Loved the timeline style. I was immersed with this book I at times felt like I was part of the exploration party.

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Masterfull

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

fantastic from start to finish, an ill fated voyage from the start, caused by arrogance.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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fantastic

Well written, beautifully narrated, has ignited my passion for bush stories. Strongly recommend to young and old.

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  • Ross
  • Australia
  • 10-12-2017

Compelling and tragic Australian history

If you could sum up Burke and Wills in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, compelling, tragic

What did you like best about this story?

The skillful development of the characters and the context of their actions.

Which character – as performed by Michael Carman – was your favourite?

Wills

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not really - just fascination

Any additional comments?

Michael Carman does a superb job as narrator. Such a difficult task to convincingly carry off so many accents and keep you believing in the characters. Brilliant work.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Returned

I found this book long winded and boring for quite a few chapters. Returned it.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Terribly boring

Having never read or listened to a book by OF before, I can only imagine that they could be better than this dribble. I could not make it past the first uninspiring chapter.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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First audiobook

What made the experience of listening to Burke and Wills the most enjoyable?

The story itself is something i was unfamiliar with, even though the name Burke and Wills are household names.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Burke and Wills?

The attitude of the Aboriginals towards the white man, and in turn the attitude of the white man towards the aboriginals at times made me embaressed to be a white australian.

What about Michael Carman’s performance did you like?

Excellent

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I did, I have personal experience with the pains of putting your body to the limits over a period of time. although it was not close the degree of this story a part of me was able to feel deeply the emotion and physical pain. I cant imagine the added pain of nutritional defeciency

Any additional comments?

Great book, slow start but once the story takes off its hard to put down. I recommend if you dont know the story avoid the temptation to google information during the story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful