Historical Records of Australian Science Historical Records of Australian Science Society
The history of science, pure and applied, in Australia, New Zealand and the southwest Pacific

In His Own Words: Dr Hermann Beckler’s Writings about His Journeys between the Darling River and Bulloo, 1860–1

Beverley Wood and Thomas A. Darragh

Historical Records of Australian Science 27(1) 28 - 40
Published: 16 May 2016


This essay introduces eight reports by Dr Hermann Beckler of the nineteenth-century Victorian Exploring Expedition (better known as the Burke & Wills Expedition) from the State Library of Victoria, the Argus newspaper and a German publication. Together, their detail reflects the complexity of the Expedition. Many are also hand-written manuscripts in nineteenth-century script that are difficult to decipher. In Beckler's own words, the reports range from descriptions of the landscape and his journeys, to the plants he observed and collected, and a meteorological report. The detailed medical reports about his return journey to Bulloo provide extensive insight into the grievous suffering of the men (four deaths) in the drought stricken summer of the semi-arid desert north of the Darling River. After he returned home to Bavaria, Beckler published a second medical report on the same subject, translated here by Thomas Darragh.


© Australian Academy of Science 2016

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