Proof Quality 99.9% Pure Silver
The coin is struck by The Perth Mint from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver in proof
150th Anniversary Design
The coin’s reverse portrays a representation of an exhausted and bedraggled Burke and
Wills. Coloured elements of the design depict a camel and a stylised tree in fading
sunlight. As well as The Perth Mint’s ‘P’ mintmark, the coin includes the inscriptions
BURKE & WILLS 150 YEAR ANNIVERSARY and VICTORIAN EXPLORING EXPEDITION 1860.
Australian Legal Tender
Issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965, the coin bears
the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse.
Extremely Limited Mintage
The Perth Mint will release no more than 7,500 of these coins.
Numbered Certificate of Authenticity
Each coin is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.
Each coin is housed in a presentation case and illustrated.
The coin commemorates the expedition of Robert O'Hara Burke and
William John Wills, legendary historical figures of colonial Australia. The first European
settlers to cross the Australian continent from south to north, their triumph turned to
tragedy when both men died on the return leg.
Problems mounted for the lavishly-equipped 1860 Victorian Exploring Expedition soon
after it departed from Melbourne. Slow progress and arguments among the leaders led Burke
to forge ahead with an advance party to establish the fateful Camp LXV at Cooper’s Creek.
As he prepared to venture into unexplored territory with Wills and two others, Burke left
word with William Brahe to expect their return to the Camp within three months.
The ‘dash’ to the Gulf of Carpentaria, still more than 1,200 kilometres away, fell
tantalisingly short. After their immense effort, the failure by the two leaders to break
through the coastal mangrove swamp meant they never actually laid eyes on the sea.
Torrential rain, sapping humidity and meagre rations severely hampered the group’s return.
One member of the party, Charles Gray, died less than 120 kilometres from Camp LXV.
Burke, Wills and John King staggered into the depot on 21 April 1861, five weeks
overdue. To their dismay, Brahe had departed earlier that day. What supplies he could
afford to leave had been buried under a Coolibah tree carved with the word ‘DIG’.
On the off chance, Burke buried a letter where the cache had been hidden, then raked
the earth flat once again. When Brahe and William Wright, the leader of the much delayed
main party, visited the camp fifteen days later, they saw no evidence of the men’s
Struggling southwards, Burke was unwilling to become dependent on the Yantruwanta
people for food. For a while the party survived on ‘nardoo’, but their failure to prepare
the seeds properly seems likely to have contributed to the demise of Burke and Wills, who
died around the end of June 1861. Only King survived, relying on the compassion of the
Aborigines until he was found by A.W. Howitt’s rescue party three months later.