Tuesday 2 February 2016

The Royal Historical Society of Queensland welcomes Dig Tree national heritage listing

The President of The Royal Historical Society of Queensland (RHSQ), Mr Dean Prangley, has welcomed the Federal Government’s listing of the Burke and Wills 1860-1861 expedition sites onto the National Heritage Register.

The National Heritage listing comprises five important sites along the banks of the Cooper Creek, near Innamincka, that represent key locations for the ill-fated expedition into inland Australia.

One of these sites, known as the Dig Tree at Cooper Creek, is where expedition members established a base camp, buried supplies and left markings and messages for each other.

Mr Prangley said the Dig Tree had long been considered a national treasure.

“The listing of the Dig Tree on the National Heritage Register further highlights the importance of the site as part of Australia’s cultural heritage,” he said.

“It has long served as a memorial for the camp site and is an enduring reminder of our pioneering spirit.”

The Dig Tree reserve had previously been known as Depot Camp 65 for the 1860-61 Burke and Wills expedition from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria, with the expedition contributing to the opening up of the Australian inland to pastoralism. Explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills completed the first north-south crossing of the Australian continent, but died during their return journey.

Situated on the southern bank of the Boolloo Boolloo waterhole at Cooper Creek via Thargomindah, the Dig Tree is a mature Coolabah believed to be 200 to 250 years old. A reserve was created in 1964 as a means of protecting the Dig Tree and the RHSQ was appointed Trustee of the site. The Dig Tree reserve was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in February 2003.

Mr Prangley said this month the RHSQ would review an updated Conservation Management Plan (CMP) prepared for the site, which was made possible with a grant from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

“The CMP will allow us to examine a number of important issues aimed at working closely with the Bullo Shire Council, the Burke & Wills Historical Society, Santos and other key stakeholders to improve the management, interpretation and protection of the site to accommodate the growing number of tourists,” he said.

“I travelled to the Dig Tree reserve late last year to see first-hand how a range of additional measures could promote and protect the site for future generations.”

Media Contact: Ms Helen Brackin, Manager, RHSQ – Telephone 07 3221 4198.