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Water bottle used by explorer Robert O’Hara Burke on his 1860–1861 expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria

This water bottle belonged to explorer Robert O’Hara Burke and was most likely used by him on the ill-fated Victorian Exploring Expedition of 1860–61. The bottle was probably recovered by Alfred Howitt, leader of the relief party sent to Cooper Creek to find the missing explorers. The Robert O’Hara Burke Water Bottle Collection is a tear-shaped water bottle of hardened leather with a cylindrical horn lid. String connects the horn lid to the bottle. The bottle is aged and in fair condition, with part of the spout of the bottle showing wear suggestive of extended rubbing. As an item which helped Burke cross great stretches of dry terrain, the water bottle dramatically represents the various challenges faced by explorers and other settler Australians during the colonial period as they engaged with the natural realities of inland Australia.


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