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Mounted Police Trooper

Mounted Police Trooper Myles Archibald Lyons was stationed at Swan Hill. He guided the expedition from Tragowell (Camp XI) to Swan Hill (Camp XV) between 4-6 September 1860.

The news of John McDouall Stuart's return to Adelaide reached Melbourne on the 28 September 1860. At a meeting of the Exploration Committe on the 13 October they decided to forward the information to Burke. Despatches were ready by the 18 and they were sent to Superintendant Foster in Swan Hill. Foster sent Constable Lyons after Burke with the news.

Lyons left Swan Hill on October 25, stabled his horse at Talbett's in Kyalite on the 26 October and at Peter Young's in Balranald on the 27 and 28 October. He arrived in Menindee on the 5th November to find that Burke had already left and was two week ahead of him. Lyons left Menindee on the 10th November with Alexander McPherson and Dick, the aboriginal guide.

Their horses knocked up in the waterless country around the Gray Range near Noccundra and Lyons and McPherson nearly died before being rescued by Peter, Belooch and Dr Beckler. The story of their rescue is told in:

  • A Journey To Cooper's Creek by Hermann Beckler, edited by Stephen Jefferies,
    Carlton, Vic., Melbourne University Press, 1993.
    ISBN: 0522844847

An extract of this dramatic tale is included here:

25 November 1860.

At daybreak we found it impossible to drive the horses any further so we left Dick with them and took both waterbags, which held approximately 42 gallons each, promising to return with water.  The morning was very hot and we could no longer utter a word. We lay down for a few minutes to rest, but were so confused that we lost the track and found it again, only by chance, a few minutes later. We could walk only very slowly, arriving at the waterhole in the late afternoon. After we had drunk a little we both became very giddy, though we were still sufficiently conscious to pour water over each other's heads. However, it was not possible for us to return with the waterbags. At midnight Dick arrived. He had discarded all his clothes and had left the horses in the shade of a few trees, close to a dry creek where Burke had once stopped at midday. We now filled the waterbags and started to return to the horses, but it was still too dark to see the track so we waited till daybreak. For 60 hours no food had passed our lips.

Lyons was the first policeman in Lilydale and in later life was constable in charge of Eltham police station. He died in Eltham on 19 August 1899, aged 75.

Where Lyons went on the expedition

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© 2020, Dave Phoenix