Top 10 Failed Adventures

Burke and Wills


Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills are to Australians what Lewis and Clark are to Americans. They were explorers of the frontier, people who traveled beyond the limits of colonization in search of faster ways to get around. Like Lewis and Clark, they also failed at what they sought to do (Lewis and Clark were looking for a Northwest Passage that didn’t exist—what they found was a huge ocean). Well, the word fail is a little harsh for these guys. They did succeed at being the first Europeans to travel from the South of Australia all the way to the Northern shores. However, they failed to return alive. During the return trip, they found a base camp that was supposed to be manned, well, deserted. Burke and Wills traveled with John King who bore witness to both of their deaths and became the only man to successfully complete the journey there and back again. Overall, eight of the nineteen men enlisted on this expedition fell victim to the Australian bush.