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Cooper's Creek

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The first fully documented story of the strange drama - familiar to every Australian child - that took place in the remote interior of Australia 150 years ago. More than any other incident in Australia's history the story of Burke, the dashing but inexperienced expedition leader and Wills, his heroic second-in-command, evokes the memory of the early settlers and the seemin ...more
Hardcover, Adventure Library Nr 25, 225 pages
Published March 28th 2001 by Adventure Library (first published 1963)
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Randolph Carter
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Anthony Hughes
Highly recommended account of Burke and Wills expedition through the centre of Australia in the 1860s, even if some of the decisions of members of the expedition party remain a little mystifying even after finishing the book.

I am not sure if there are any worse ways to expire than a very slow death as a result of starvation, malnutrition and exposure (not to mention thirst) over many weeks and even months, essentially the fate of the very brave but not entirely competent Burke and Wills and thei
This book was not as good as I was hoping it would be. The story was inspiring and then at times very depressing, but I was disappointed at how it was told. The author made an extremely racist remark in the second sentence of the book and I had a hard time ever getting past that. He also spent the last third of the book giving the word for word details of the trial, and about his own journey to the Cooper. Not nearly as interesting as the actual expedition.

The story deserves telling, but this bo
Gail Pool
Reading accounts of disastrous journeys—so abundant in tales of early exploration—I find it hard to decide which disasters seem the most poignant: the ones caused by human failings or those determined by chance. Both types play a role in Cooper’s Creek, Alan Moorehead’s gripping story of the Burke and Wills expedition into the center of Australia, a vast region of rugged climate and terrain, where summer temperatures can reach 150 degrees, so hot that a match dropped on the ground can ignite.

Debbie Craft
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Karenbike Patterson
A good book to read before you visit Australia. This details the exploration of the interior in 1860 from Melbourne north to the Gulf of Captheria. It's just as barren now as you imagine and, even though the expedition was well supplied, many of the men left, died, or nearly starved. There was good insight to the natives who lived in tribes near the water holes. Early exploration books are always an adventure to read.
Nothing wrong with this book. Moorehead is always fun, interesting, and says the things you most want to know. Since this is a book about exploration into the interior of Australia, it is somewhat limited in scope, thus the 3 stars. I compare him to himself, and he is awfully good.
An important thing I learned: Australia as a whole was not settled by convicts--only New South Wales.
Mark Eickhoff
Another outstanding history from Australian journalist Alan Moorehead (The White Nile). In this work, Moorehead addresses the ill-fated Burke-Wills expedition to explore Australia in the early 1860's. Written in his typical narrative style, Moorehead brings the details of the expedition to life with extensive use of the diaries, letters, and reports left behind by the men. He also examines the rescue missions to find Burke and Wills, the court of inquiry that was convened afterward to assign acc ...more
Bit hard to go past the blatantly racist views. I guess it's from a white perspective from the 1960s. I suppose that is what makes the book interesting.
Oct 14, 2010 Adrian added it
The story of the tragic Burke-Wills trek across Australia in 1860-61. Selected by a committee to lead the expedition Robert Burke and the misbegotten exploration he led have to remind you very much of Scott and the South Pole. They had as much bad luck and near misses. It was the heat and lack of proper food that killed Burke and Wills. The Commission held after was evenhanded in parcelling out blame, as is Moorehead, but I think the main culprit was the committee. It's instructions for Burke we ...more
Erik Graff
Apr 23, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventurers
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Having read several of Moorehead's books before and being interested in filling in more of the ghastly blank which is my knowledge of the history of Australia, I eagerly snapped this up when found used at a local bookstore.

Basically, it's the story of the European exploration of central Australia from about 1845 to 1862, focused on the Burke and Wills expedition of 1860-61, their deaths and the investigation which followed. As usual, Moorehead tells a great story, his history reading like a well

The Burke and Wills monument in Melbourne in the eighteen-sixties

Hand written inscription:

Best wishes from
Eileen & Keith
July 1966

Opening: Here, perhaps more than anywhere, humanity had a chance to make a fresh start.

Peppered with glossy photographs and sketches.

From the authors note: Mr Sidney Nolan first suggested that I should write this book, and for this, as well as for his permission to reproduce here some of his splendid paintings, I most warmly thank him.

5* The White Nile
4* The Blue
Fred Eisenhut
Brilliant telling of the story of going across the interior of Australia.
This tragic story of Burke and Wills is deftly told including vivid detail without getting bogged. We can no longer make bold excursions into unknown territories without the benefit of tethers to civilisation. Well maybe Ranulph Fiennes finds such opportunities at the poles. I admire the boldness.
An interesting account of the first exploration group to cross the interior of Australia from south to north. Also a tragic story since three of the four explorers died through a combination of poor planning, poor communication, and missed rescue opportunities.
I really like explorer/travel adventures. This book is a great examination of the opening of the Australian interior. So many potentially "minor" oversights by various members of the expeditions had catastrophic consequences. Tragic, but fascinating.
Beth B
Loved this book. A real tale of endurance beautifully written. Moorhead manages to keep the narrative moving along with incredible detail without getting bogged down in irrelevant bits just because he wanted to include every bit of research.
Very interesting read on the hapless excursion of Burke and Wills to make it to the northernmost end of Australia overland from the south. Great descriptions of flora and fauna, and pretty good storytelling too. Good read.
Anthony Goodman
The best of the best about the exploration of Australia. If this were fiction, I would have thought it a silly story. But it is all true.
Keith Slade
Interesting account of the Australian Burke and Wills expedition which had a tragic outcome.
So easy to read and so engaging. You can feel that he made the journey himself.
Tim Painter
Another interesting book on the history of Austrailia.
Interesting, but not my favorite adventure book.
Somewhat boring as an audiobook.
Aug 26, 2012 Noreen marked it as to-read
Adventure Library
Brittney Banning
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Alan Moorehead was lionised as the literary man of action: the most celebrated war correspondent of World War II; author of award winning books; star travel writer of The New Yorker; pioneer publicist of wildlife conservation. At the height of his success, his writing suddenly stopped and when, 17 years later, his death was announced, he seemed a heroic figure from the past. His fame as a writer g ...more
More about Alan Moorehead...
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