Burke & Wills Web
The online digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020

by Welder's Dog

© 2010, Peter Harris.

Peter Harris of Welder's Dog said:

Burkes last instructions to Brahe, back at a base camp was that if he was not back by the agreed date in three months, he would probably have reached the ocean and hailed a passing vessel to return to Melbourne by sea.

It took the little party of Burke, Wills, King and Grey a gruelling two months to actually reach the Gulf. They knew they were there because they made camp by a salty tidal creek. Burke, desperate to see the shore, repeatedly tried to find a way through the thick mangroves but was defeated each time. he eventually gave up and began to face the prospect of making the return trip through colder conditions with dwindling supplies of food.

This song explores how Burke must have felt at this point.

How many days?
How many days
Have I been travelling 'cross the land?
Through the burning sand
And now the never ending rain
Washes through my brain
And makes me long
For clear blue skies - hey hey hey!

How many times?
How many times
Have I been tempted to go back?
Leave this crazy track
Before my failing strength is gone.
But something tells me that I must
Travel on - hey hey hey!

And now I sit.
And now I sit
Beside a river with a tide.
Knowing that the never ending sea
Is close at hand.
Longing just to see those lonely miles
Of ocean sand - hey hey hey!

www.burkeandwills.net.au Burke & Wills Web The digital research archive of expedition records
© 2020, Dave Phoenix