Strzelecki Track, Innamincka and Burke’s Grave

After leaving Cameron Corner we headed north west up the Strzelecki Track towards Innamincka.  This is another of those iconic 4WD tracks that people want to tackle.  It’s not difficult, but it’s a fairly lonely drive, we barely saw anyone all day, so you definitely need to be well prepared. 

Something that we didn’t know until we started researching was that The Strzelecki Track was actually created by the infamous cattle thief named Harry Readford (also spelt Redford) whilst attempting to move 1000 head of cattle from Queensland to South Australia.

Harry, or Captain Starlight as he was known, lived an interesting life and his whole story is quite fascinating. The most interesting twist to the whole story is that, although Harry was found guilty of stealing the cattle, the judge and jury were so impressed and amazed at what he had accomplished, they they didn’t convict him for the crime!

Nowadays the track is used mainly by trucks and mining vehicles headed to and from Moomba. The Strzelecki Track runs for about 475km from Innamincka to Lyndhurst.

The town of Innamincka is located on the banks of the Cooper Creek in north-east South Australia and it’s a beautiful area, full of history and wildlife. It is one of those places that we actually really like, although there really isn’t much there and it has a permanent population of only about 10-15 people. After our first visit to Innamincka years ago, Shelly has always maintained that she had the best hot chips ever from the pub! (and anyone who knows Shelly knows that she loves her hot chips!). When we arrived in Innamincka this time we could not believe how busy it was, 4WD’s, Campers, Caravans and people everywhere! Neither of us had ever seen anything like that!

Innamincka is also a big part of the Burke & Wills story. This whole area is Burke & Wills country, this is the land they traversed in their ill-fated exploration of Australia. We both have quite an interest in the Burke & Wills story, so much so that back in 2010 we joined Vic Widman from Great Divide Tours on one of his tag-a-long tours to retrace the steps of Burke & Wills. 20th August 2010 marked 150 years since the Burke & Wills Expedition set off from the Royal Park in Melbourne and we were privileged enough to join Vic and 12 other 4WD’s to mark this occasion and to retrace their steps.

Unfortunately on that trip we didn’t get to visit Burke’s Grave as the roads were closed, but this time we did (well George actually visited on a work trip last year) so Shelly, and about a million flies, made the trek out to the grave by herself whilst George waited in the comfort of the Prado!

Robert O’Hara Burke’s grave site is not far from Innamincka on the banks of the Cooper Creek. This is the site where Howitt buried Burke’s remains in September 1861. His body was later exhumed and moved to the Melbourne General Cemetery.

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