Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Muddled Remembrance

Alan Attwood, the editor of the Big Issue, wrote the other day about the ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of the departure of the Burke and Wills expedition. Really that took place on 20th August - or rather, everything got into such a muddle that it actually took place properly on 21st August, 1860. Appropriately, in Attwood's view, the commemoration ceremony also hit a few snags. The most recent was the date chosen for the Federal election - Saturday, 21 August. Once that was announced, the ceremony had to be brought forward - it was decided it should be held today instead. The project also hit problems to do with funding. Attwood comments thus about the various difficulties:

'I think it's wonderfully appropriate - because the expedition itself was a bit of a shambles, it would have been incongruous to have things run too smoothly 150 years later ... In the interest of historical accuracy ... I hope it begins very late, the crowd is unruly, and some of the participants are affected by drink.'

I don't suppose I'll ever know if the event lived up to Attwood's vision - I couldn't find the venue, but that too is really par for the course.


  1. Oh dear - that's too funny. BTW Have you read Sarah Murgatroyd's wonderful book on the expedition, The dig tree. She covers it from the selection of the participants and their suitability or otherwise. A great read. (And the poor young author died about the time it hit the shops).

  2. Hi Whispering - I have read it and was so upset at the end to discover Murgatroyd had died (I got rather obsessed by the whole story of Burke and Wills a couple of weeks ago and wrote this post, if you're interested: