The Dig Tree Reserve is the 4470 square metre fenced area containing the Dig Tree, the Face Tree and Brahe’s Tree.
Photo: Lee Beanland

DIG TREE RESERVE

The Royal Historical Society of Queensland is Trustee of the Dig Tree Reserve.

John Conrick, a pastoralist from Warrnambool in Victoria, had arrived in the area in 1871. He took up a property on Cooper Creek which became Nappa Merrie meaning sand hills in the local Aboriginal language. The Conrick family operated the property until the mid-1950s when they retired to Adelaide. In 1937 the family erected a plaque to the Conrick family highlighting their history as a pastoral family in the area. They had suggested at that time that the Dig Tree be preserved in a separate reserve. Negotiations progressed with The Royal Historical Society of Queensland and the state government and a one-acre reserve was established in 1964.

The Royal Historical Society of Queensland was made Trustee of the one-acre Dig Tree Reserve. This Reserve was gazetted on page 1083 in the Queensland Government Gazette dated 2 July 1964 covering about one acre.

Following a further survey in September 1985, on page 285 in the Queensland Government Gazette dated 22 January 1987, the following area was gazetted: R 7 being lot 1 on plan CPR4 an area of 4470 square metres in the Parish Oontoo, County Cooper, on the bank of Cooper Creek in south-west Queensland. The second gazettal was based on the survey by Paul A McDonald LS in September 1985.

The Royal Historical Society of Queensland initiated a meeting of interested persons and agencies on 2 October 1996 to discuss the management of the Dig Tree. In addition to The Royal Historical Society of Queensland the parties at the meeting were: Department of Environment, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Bulloo Shire Council, the lessee of Nappa Merrie pastoral property within which the reserve is situated. The meeting decided to create the Dig Tree Advisory Board. Since then the Burke and Wills Historical Society has joined the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board meets at least once a year and continues to advise The Royal Historical Society of Queensland regarding the Dig Tree Reserve.

On 22 January 2016, the Dig Tree Reserve was entered on the Australian Heritage Database under the title The Burke, Wills, King and Yandruwandha National Heritage Place which also includes Burke’s Tree, Wills’ Site, King’s Site and Howitt’s Site. The statement of significance says the sites have “outstanding heritage value to the nation as the setting for the key events associated with the Burke and Wills Expedition, which was a defining moment in Australia’s cultural history.” On 28 February 2003 Burke and Wills Dig Tree was entered on the Queensland Heritage Register which says: “The Dig Tree is a revered social landmark for many Australians.”

WHITE CAIRN

The white cairn was erected by the Conrick family in 1937.
Photo: Lee Beanland

WHITE CAIRN CLOSEUP

The plaque on the Conrick Cairn.
Photo: Lee Beanland

BROWN CAIRN

A stone cairn which was erected in 1997.
Photo: Lee Beanland

BROWN CAIRN CLOSEUP

The plaque on the stone cairn. Click on the image to see enlarged view.
Click here to read the text on the brown cairn.

Photo: Lee Beanland

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.