Burke and Wills expedition

The Burke and Wills expedition was organised by the Royal Society of Victoria in Australia in 1860–61. It consisted of 19 men led by Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, with the objective of crossing Australia from Melbourne in the south, to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, a distance of around 3,250 kilometres. At that time most of the inland of Australia had not been explored by non-Indigenous people and was unknown to the European settlers; the expedition left Melbourne in winter. Bad weather, poor roads and broken-down wagons meant. After dividing the party at Menindee on the Darling River Burke made good progress, reaching Cooper Creek at the beginning of summer; the expedition established a depot camp at the Cooper, Burke and two other men pushed on to the north coast. The return journey was plagued by delays and monsoon rains, when they reached the depot at Cooper Creek, they found it had been abandoned just hours earlier. Burke and Wills died on or about 30 June 1861. Several relief expeditions were sent out.

Altogether, seven men lost their lives, only one man, the Irish soldier John King, crossed the continent with the expedition and returned alive to Melbourne. Gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851 and the subsequent gold rush led to a huge influx of migrants, with the local population increasing from 29,000 in 1851 to 139,916 in 1861; the colony became wealthy and Melbourne grew to become Australia's largest city and the second largest city of the British Empire. The boom lasted forty years and ushered in the era known as "marvellous Melbourne"; the influx of educated gold seekers from England and Germany led to rapid growth of schools, learned societies and art galleries. The University of Melbourne was founded in 1855 and the State Library of Victoria in 1856; the Philosophical Institute of Victoria was founded in 1854 and became the Royal Society of Victoria after receiving a Royal Charter in 1859. By 1855 there was speculation about possible routes for the Australian Overland Telegraph Line to connect Australia to the new telegraph cable in Java and Europe.

There was fierce competition between the colonies over the route with governments recognising the economic benefits that would result from becoming the centre of the telegraph network. A number of routes were considered including Ceylon to Albany in Western Australia, or Java to the north coast of Australia and either onto east coast, or south through the centre of the continent to Adelaide; the Victorian government organised the Burke and Wills expedition to cross the continent in 1860. The South Australian government offered a reward of £2000 to encourage an expedition to find a route between South Australia and the north coast. In 1857 the Philosophical Institute formed an Exploration Committee with the aim of investigating the practicability of fitting out an exploring expedition. While interest in inland exploration was strong in the neighbouring colonies of New South Wales and South Australia, in Victoria enthusiasm was limited; the anonymous donation of £1,000 to the Fund Raising Committee of the Royal Society failed to generate much interest and it was 1860 before sufficient money was raised and the expedition was assembled.

The Exploration Committee called for offers of interest for a leader for the Victorian Exploring Expedition. Only two members of the Committee, Ferdinand von Mueller and Wilhelm Blandowski, had any experience in exploration but due to factionalism both were outvoted. Several people were considered for the post of leader and the Society held a range of meetings in early 1860. Robert O'Hara Burke was selected by committee ballot as the leader, William John Wills was recommended as surveyor and third-in-command. Burke had no experience in exploration and it is strange that he was chosen to lead the expedition. Burke was an Irish-born ex-officer with the Austrian army, became police superintendent with no skills in bushcraft. Wills was more adept than Burke at living in the wilderness, but it was Burke's leadership, detrimental to the mission. Rather than take cattle to be slaughtered during the trip the Committee decided to experiment with dried meat; the weight was to slow the expedition down appreciably.

The Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria included: Sir William Foster Stawell, Chief Justice of Victoria Dr David Elliott Wilkie MD. Treasurer Dr John Macadam, Honorary Secretary Professor Georg Neumayer Dr Ferdinand von Mueller, Government Botanist Sir Frederick McCoy, Melbourne University's first professor The Hon. Captain Andrew Clarke Dr Richard Eades, Mayor of Melbourne Charles Whybrow Ligar, Government Surveyor General The Hon Sir Francis Murphy, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Lieutenant John Randall Pascoe, JP Captain Francis Cadell Alfred Selwyn Esq. Government Geologist Reverend Father Dr John Ignatius Bleasdale Clement Hodgkinson Esq. Dr J William McKenna Edward Wilson, Editor of the Argus Dr William Gilbee Sizar Elliott Esq. Dr Solomon Iffla Angus McMillan Esq. James Smith Esq. John Watson Esq. Camels had been used in desert exploration in other parts of the world, but by 1859 only seven camels had been imported into Australia; the Victorian Government appointed George James Landells to purchase 24 camels in India for use in desert exploration.

The animals arrived in Melbourne in June 1860 and the Exploration Committee purchased an additional six from George Coppin's Cremorne Gardens. The camels were ini

Eucalyptus placita

Eucalyptus placita known as grey ironbark or ironbark, is a species of small to medium-sized tree, endemic to New South Wales. It has rough, furrowed grey but soft ironbark on the trunk and branches, glossy green, lance-shaped adult leaves, flower buds in groups of seven, white flowers and conical fruit. Eucalyptus placita is a tree that grows to a height of 25–30 m and forms a lignotuber, it has rough, furrowed grey bark, unusally soft for an ironbark. Young plants and coppice regrowth have broadly egg-shaped leaves that are glossy bright green on the upper surface, paler below, 50–80 mm long and 30–50 mm wide and petiolate. Adult leaves are arranged alternately, glossy green on the upper surface, paler below, lance-shaped, 60–120 mm long and 15–35 mm wide on a petiole 10–20 mm long; the flower buds are arranged in groups of seven on a branched peduncle on the ends of branchlets, the peduncle 6–17 mm long, the individual buds on pedicels 3–8 mm long. Mature buds are oval to club-shaped or diamond-shaped, 6–7 mm long and 3–4 mm wide with a conical to beaked operculum.

Flowering has been recorded in April, June and October and the flowers are white. The fruit is a conical capsule 5 -- 9 mm long and 5 -- 7 mm wide with the valves below rim level. Eucalyptus placita was first formally described in 1990 by Lawrie Johnson and Ken Hill in the journal Telopea. Grey ironbark grows in moist areas in the mid north coast region of New South Wales, from Cessnock to Kempsey

Maria Spilsbury

Maria Spilsbury was a British artist known for her religious paintings and portraiture. Spilsbury was born at 68 Great Ormond Street, London, in 1776, she had a twin brother but he died at their birth. Her parents were Jonathan Spilsbury, her younger brother was Jonathan Robert Henry Spilsbury, baptized on 7 December 1779 at St Marylebone, London. In 1789, her father moved the family to Ireland, working as a tutor for Mrs Sarah Tighe of Rossana, County Wicklow, they returned to London two years settling at 10 St. George's Row, Hyde Park. In addition to learning art from her father Spilsbury was tutored in colored painting by Sir William Beecher and in music by Charles Wesley the Younger, who proclaimed her the best amateur organist in London. Despite never having had any formal training, Spilsbury first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of fifteen and continued to do so throughout her life, her paintings were shown at the British Institution, the British School, the Royal Academy, the Hibernian Society of Artists, the Dublin Society.

She excelled in portraiture, genre painting, morality painting. Her work is characterized by a particular interest in evangelical religious themes. Contemporary accounts suggest that her studio on St. George's Row, was so popular that up to twenty carriages could be seen outside it on weekly private viewing days, her patrons included George IV, who frequented her studio. In 1808 Spilsbury married John Taylor, a Protestant minister with a parish in Hampshire, she moved to Ireland with her husband in 1813, residing again with Mrs. Tighe in Dublin, where she remained active as a painter. Shortly thereafter, her sixth pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage and Spilsbury fell ill, she died in Dublin on 1 June 1820. Today, her paintings can be found in both private and public collections including those of the National Gallery of Ireland and the British Museum. Miss Elizabeth Angerstein Attended by Guardian Angels The Schoolmistress Confusion, or The Nursery in the Kitchen The House of Protection for Destitute Females of Character Two Girls Applying for Admission Christ Feeding the Multitude, The Second Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes—St.

Matthew, xv The Fourth of June The Royal Jubilee, as Celebrated at Great Malvern, 1809 John Wesley Preaching in the Open Air at Willybank, Rossana Patron's Day at the Seven Churches, Glendalough Mrs. Henry Grattan Alexander Hamilton and his Wife and Daughters Portrait of Francis Synge Portrait of the Reverend Benjamin Williams Mathias Chaplain of Bethesda, Dublin was engraved by Charles Turner. Portrait of the Rev. William Kingsbury was engraved by Henry Edward Dawe. Pattern at Glendalough 6 paintings by or after Maria Spilsbury at the Art UK site