The four men marked their positions and began the return to their base camp, a grueling journey that left them half-starved and one of them dead. But when they arrived, they found the camp deserted.
A note explained that the supporting party had not yet brought up supplies. Concerned, the men in the camp had decided to set out south to fmd them. Burke, Wills, and another man named King were marooned in the middle of Australia, hundreds of miles from help, with only a box containing 40 days’ worth of food left there by the other party.
Weak and desperate, the men tried to reach a sheep station called Mount Hopeless to the southwest. After 60 days, the three men had eaten all their food and had slaughtered their camels. Wills and Burke both died around June 28.
Found and kept alive by aborigines, King survived to recount what happened. The bodies of Burke and Wills were recovered and they were buried as heroes in Melbourne.