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


Landsborough led the Queensland Governments search party for Burke. He sailed aboard the SS Firefly, leaving Brisbane for the Gulf on the 24 August 1861. By 15 November 1861, Landsborough was ready to leave the Gulf, his instructions being to head to Central Mount Sturt.

South-south-west of the Albert River he discovered another large stream, which he named the Gregory River after the Queensland Surveyor-General. Early in December the party found themselves on 'a finely undulating, park-like plateau ... richly clothed with the best grasses'. They named it the Barkly Tableland after Sir Henry Barkly, Governor of Victoria.

On 20 December 1861, Landsborough came to another large but almost dry water, course on an extensive blacksoil plain. He named it the Herbert River, but this was later changed to the Georgina, after the Queensland Governor's wife.

Returning past today's Camooweal, Landsborough arrived back at the Albert River on 6 February 1862. Landsborough learned that Frederick Walker had found Burke's tracks on the Flinders River. Landsborough decided to set out for the Flinders with a dual purpose: to discover further traces of the missing explorers, or if that failed, to report on pastoral country. He left the Gulf on 10 February 1862.

Late in February 1862, Landsborough came to the extensive Plains of Promise seen in 1841 by John Lort Stokes of the HMS Beagle. Fortunately, it was a dry season, and Landsborough rode across the plains.

From the Flinders River, Landsborough turned west past today's Richmond and Hughenden and then south to the Barcoo and Warrego Rivers. The route yielded him no further trace of Burke's path and only when he reached a station near today's Cunnamulla did he hear the result of Howitt's expedition.

In October 1862 Landsborough at last reached Melbourne. He was acclaimed as the first explorer to cross Australia from north to south and his glowing reports caused a rush Gulf country. The explorer later became a controversial police magistrate at Burketown. Towards the end of his life he was awarded £2,000 for his Gulf country discoveries.

Landsborough's party
• William Landsborough Commander
• H.W.N. Campbell Assistant Commander
• W. Allison  
• George Bourne Second-in-Command (?-25 May 1891)
• W. Gleeson groom and cook and former sailor
• Jemmy

Queensland Native Mounted Police trooper,
originally from Deniliquin.

• Fisherman Aboriginal guide from the Brisbane region
• Jacky Aboriginal guide from the Wide Bay district
• Charlie Queensland Native Mounted Police trooper,

Landsborough's party for the Barkly Tableland Expedition;
• William Landsborough  
• H W N Campbell  
• W Allison  
• Jemmy  
• Fisherman  

Landsborough's party that crossed Australia from the Albert River to Melbourne;
• William Landsborough  
• George Bourne  
• W Gleeson  
• Jemmy  
• Fisherman  
• Jacky  
& 20 or 21 horses.  

Landsborough Memorial at Hughenden

Landsborough's Tree on the Albert River at Burketown

The Landsborough Tree was destroyed by vandals in December 2002 and all that remains is a burnt stump.

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