Aussies get their gun in Slane Castle
A 19th-century gun owned by Robert O’Hara Burke sold for €10,000.
A 19th-century gun with a modest estimate of €600-€1,000 was the “sleeper” in Adam’s auction at Slane Castle last weekend where it sold for €10,000. The revolver, in a fitted mahogany case, is inscribed: “presented to R O’ Hara Burke Esq. Supt of Police”. Collectors in Australia spotted the item on the internet and realised its significance. The Co Galway-born Robert O’Hara Burke emigrated to Australia in 1853 and became a policeman in the state of Victoria. In 1860 he and the English-born surveyor William John Wills, led an ill-fated but historic first expedition to cross Australia from south to north.
Although both men died on the return journey, they are regarded as among the great Victorian explorers and are national heroes in Australia. The interior of Australia was still unknown at the time and their journey was the first by white settlers to traverse the continent from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Burke and Wills expedition is one of the landmark events in Australian history and both men were given state funerals. They are commemorated by various memorials, including a bronze statue in Melbourne.