Surveyor Alexander Salmond made this drawing in 1879 – probably the earliest depiction of the Dig Tree. 
Salmond Photographs and Correspondence, John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

BLAZES

There are three significant trees at the Dig Tree Reserve:

  • Dig Tree
  • Brahé’s Tree
  • Face Tree

Each of these trees was carved. The carvings are called blazes. All of the blazes have partially or fully grown over by bark.

Dig Tree

The Dig Tree has three blazes:

  • DEC 6 60 APR 21 61. Carved in 1860-61 by Brahé’s party to record their arrival and departure dates. This blaze is no longer visible.
  • B LXV. This means Burke Camp 65. Carved by Brahé’s party in 1860-61. This blaze is partially visible on the south-facing side of the tree.
  • AH DIG [Arrow] TO DEPOT. Carved in 1862 by Alfred Howitt’s search party who buried supplies there. AH stands for Alfred Howitt. This blaze is no longer visible.

Dig Tree. This blaze records the date of arrival of the Burke and Wills expedition on 6 December 1860 and departure of Brahé’s party on 21 April 1861.

John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland neg. no. 42815

Dig Tree. In 1862 Alfred Howitt’s search party buried supplies at the Dig Tree Reserve and carved the initials AH DIG with instructions where to find the store. 

John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland neg. no. 42815.

Dig Tree. B LXV stands for Burke Camp 65.

Frank Clune National Library of Australia.

Brahé’s Tree

Brahé’s Tree has one blaze:

  • DIG 3FT. It was carved by Brahé’s party in 1861. It may have included further carvings but there is no agreed record. This blaze is no longer visible.

Brahé’s Tree. DIG 3FT is the message read by Burke, Wills and King when they returned to the camp.

Frank Clune National Library of Australia.

Face Tree

The Face Tree has two blazes.

  • [Face] ROHB. Carved by John Dick in 1898, this likeness of Burke has his initials standing for Robert O’Hara Burke. This blaze is partially visible.
  • [Arrow] JD.GD 21.11.98. Carved by John Dick, JD stands for John Dick and GD stands for Ghyn Dick, his wife who was known as Minnie. This is followed by the date of carving. This blaze is no longer visible.

Face Tree. Carved portrait of Burke by John Dick, 1898.

John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland neg. no. 73327.

Face Tree. JD stands for John Dick who carved the Face Tree and GD is his wife [Minnie] Ghyn Dick. 

John Oxley Library State Library of Queensland neg. no. 146180.

JOB AD

Permanent part time position available for a Caretaker/ Ranger for the Dig Tree Reserve.

Click here for details.

The Dig Tree web site is presented by The Royal Historical Society of Queensland.

To find out more about visiting the Dig Tree go to Thargotourism and Outback Tourism.

The Royal Historical Society of Queensland is trustee for the Dig Tree Reserve supported by Nappa Merrie Station and the Bulloo Shire Council.