Historical photograph taken of the frontage of the Burke Museum in Beechworth. As Australia’s oldest regional museum, the building used for the Burke Museum was originally built as the Beechworth Athenaeum, and was later dedicated as a museum in memorial to the explorer Robert O’Hara Burke, who died on the Burke and Wills expeditions in 1861. The Burke and Wills exhibitions were a significant colonial event that was memorialised in paintings, buildings, monuments, and statues.
The photograph has historical significance, connecting with various themes such as exploring, establishing pathways, and significant colonial events or persons. The photograph depicts the frontage of the Burke Museum, which was dedicated as a memorial to the explorer Robert O’Hara Burke, who died on the Burke and Wills expeditions in 1861.
Robert O’Hara Burke was a significant person who was connected to both Beechworth and to an important colonial event, the Burke and Wills expeditions. Born in Ireland, Burke migrated to Australia in 1853 and nearly a year later, was appointed to senior inspector at Beechworth. Described as quick-tempered yet generous, Burke later joined an expedition to explore the interior of the Victorian colony, which was later termed the Burke and Wills expeditions. While the expeditions generated a significant amount of interest, the objectives of the Burke and Wills expeditions were hazy, as was its planned route, leading to disaster on the trip as group infighting, poor provisions, and a lack of clear instructions ultimately resulted in Burke’s death. Regardless, the Burke and Wills expeditions promoted discovery and endures today in popular memory.
Black and white rectangular photograph printed on paper.
Inscriptions & markings
1856/ BEECHWORTH/ PUBLIC/ LIBRARY/ BURKE/ MUSEUM/ BURK MUSEUM/ (parking signs illegible)
BMM 84-2-1/ A02989
1997 2696/ BMM 84-2-3