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John King
John King

Photographs supplied by Kay Pamnent

The Memorial commemorates John King, the only surviving member of the Burke and Wills expedition who was found near an Innamincka waterhole.

John King (1838 – 1872) was an Irish soldier who achieved fame as an Australian explorer. He was the sole survivor of the four men from the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition who reached the Gulf of Carpentaria. The expedition was the first to cross Australia from south to north, finding a route across the continent from Melbourne in Victoria to the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland.

Already weakened by starvation and exposure, progress on the return journey was slow and hampered by the tropical monsoon downpours of the wet season. Gray died four days before they reached the depot at Cooper Creek and the other three took a day to bury him. They eventually reached the depot on Sunday, 21 April 1861 to find the men had not arrived from Menindee and Brahe and the Depot Party had given up waiting and left just 9 hours earlier. Brahe had buried a note and some food underneath a tree which is now known as the Dig Tree.

Burke, Wills and King attempted to reach Mount Hopeless, the furthest extent of settlement in South Australia, which was closer than Menindee, but failed and returned to Cooper Creek. While waiting for rescue Burke and Wills died of exhaustion and starvation. The exact date of their deaths is uncertain, but has generally been accepted to be 28 June 1861.

King survived with the help of Aborigines until he was rescued in September by Alfred William Howitt. Howitt buried Burke and Wills before returning to Melbourne.


Address:Fifteen Mile Track, Cooper Creek , Innamincka, 5731
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.775225
Long: 140.677948
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 1st September, 1973
Front Inscription

              JOHN KING
(Born County Tyrone N Ireland 9-12-1838 Died Melbourne 1872)
Of The Burke And Wills Exploring Expedition
Was Rescued 15-9-1861 In The Nearby Creek By
Of The Relief Party Of A. W. Howitt
Who Established Camp 32 In This Vicinity.

Erected 1-9-1973 by the Mack and Loffler families
                 Waikerie S.A.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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