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On 3 July 1860, the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria purchased six camels from George Coppin. The camels had been at Coppin's Cremorne Gardens as exhibits in the exotic menagerie. John King and John Drakeford moved the camels to Royal Park to join the 24 beasts already imported by George Landells.

When the Victoria Exploring Expedition left Royal Park, Melbourne on 20 August 1860 they took twenty-six or twenty-seven camels with them. (The receipt for portage across the Murray at Swan Hill shows 26 camels were transported).

At a meeting held on the 18 August 1860 it was decided that four camels should be left behind for 'breeding purposes'. Six camels were left behind at Royal Park; two females and their calves, one young bull and Landell's pet camel.

The camels that left Melbourne;

1 Golah Sing
2 Gotch
3 Landa
4 Boocha
5 Rajah
6 Beer
7 Rowa
8 Mustana
9 Simla
10 Bell Sing
11 Burra
12 Bunjib
13 Mutwala
14 Gobin
15 Coppin I
16 Jambel
17 Mochrani
18 Nero
19 Janglee
20 Rangee
21 Shadow
22 Carlo
23 One of the following: Siva, Mr Cassim, Krishna or Nano
24 One of the following: Siva, Mr Cassim, Krishna or Nano
25 Name? Large male riding camel
26 Name? Large grey camel missing part of an ear
27 Name? one of Coppin's camels.

All the camels made the journey through Victoria and crossed the River Murray into New South Wales. Local tradition alleges Burke left a camel behind at Murray Downs Station near Swan Hill, but this is not correct. The camel was left at Murray Downs in 1865 by Duncan McIntyre's 'Ladies Leichhardt Expedition'.

On the journey from Kornpany to the Darling at Tarcoola, one of the camels with a load of over 200kg fell and, according to Landells, dislocated its shoulder. The camel, one of Coppins' beasts was left on the Darling at Bilbarka and only 26 camels reached Menindee.

At Menindee Burke divided the party, taking some camels north to Cooper Creek and leaving some camels behind in Menindee.

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