Burke and Wills: The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition

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EB Joyce, DA McCann
Csiro Publishing, Nov 2, 2011 - Science - 368 pages
1 Review
This book challenges the common assumption that little or nothing of scientific value was achieved during the Burke and Wills expedition. The Royal Society of Victoria initiated the Victorian Exploring Expedition as a serious scientific exploration of hitherto unexplored regions of inland and northern Australia. Members of the expedition were issued with detailed instructions on scientific measurements and observations to be carried out, covering about a dozen areas of science. The tragic ending of the expedition meant that most of the results of the scientific investigations were not reported or published. Burke and Wills: The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian Exploring Expedition rectifies this historic omission. It includes the original instructions as well as numerous paintings and drawings, documents the actual science undertaken as recorded in notebooks and diaries, and analyses the outcomes. It reveals for the first time the true extent and limits of the scientific achievements of both the Burke and Wills expedition and the various relief expeditions which followed. Importantly, this new book has led to a re-appraisal of the shortcomings and the successes of the journey. It will be a compelling read for all those interested in the history of exploration, science and natural history, as well as Australian history and heritage.
 

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User Review  - untraveller - LibraryThing

Very interesting for the scientific minded. I thought their most interesting and best written chapters dealt with the physical rather than the biological sciences. Read full review

Contents

exploration science politics andpersonal ambition
1
Chapter 2 William John Wills as scientist
23
Chapter 3 Geology soils and landscapes of the expedition route
58
Chapter 4 The botanical legacy of Ferdinand Mueller andHermann Beckler
97
an encounter with the fauna of Australias uniquearid environment
130
Chapter 6 Hydrologic insights of inland Australia
207
a remarkable set of early inland observations
235
Aboriginal people the Victorian ExploringExpedition and the relief parties
245
rewriting history
275
Appendixes
293
Index
328
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