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First Across Australia Documentary Series
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Video > TV shows
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English
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The story of Burke and Wills, one of the greatest adventures in exploration across the heart of Australia

Robert O'Hara Burke was the first white man to cross Australia from coast to coast. He was the leader of the largest land expedition Australia had ever seen and the story of its adventures is both enthralling and scarifying. But its climax is the stuff of fiction. Although successful in crossing Australia, Burke was critically late getting back to his supply camp in the centre of the continent. He had instructed his companions there to wait 3 months for him and if he hadn't returned from his 1500 mile round trip by then, they should presume him dead and head for home. They waited the three months for Burke and then hung on for a whole extra month before finally giving up hope. On the morning of April 21st, 1861 they abandoned camp and headed south. Just 9 hours later a terminally exhausted Burke with his 2 surviving companions stumbled into the camp to find it deserted. Emergency supplies were not enough to save them and Burke died of starvation two months later in the arms of fellow Irishman John King