The Dig Tree - QLD

  Historic Site


DEG: -27.623867 141.075857
DMS: 27º 37' 25.92" S 141º 04' 33.07" E
UTM: 54 J 6944460mN 507484mE
Altitude: 55.99m


Place Type

Heritage - Historic Site


844.28kms North of Adelaide - Driving 1152 km (22 hours 21 mins)

Address & Contact

Durham Downs QLD
Phone: N/A
Email: N/A
Web: N/A


The tree at the depôt camp that Brahe marked the location of the buried supplies still stands on the banks of Bullah Bullah Waterhole on Coopers Creek in south-west Queensland. The tree is a coolibah (Eucalyptus microtha) estimated to be around 250 years old.

Initially the tree was known as “Brahe’s Tree” or the “Depot Tree” and the tree under which Burke died attracted most attention and interest. As a result of the blaze on the tree and the subsequent popularity of the book Dig written in 1935 by Frank Clune, the tree became known as the “Dig Tree”.

There are three separate blazes on the tree; the camp number, a date blaze and the instruction to dig. Two of the blazes have grown closed and only the camp number blaze remains visible today.The date blaze indicated the date of arrival and the date of departure “DEC-6-60” carved over “APR-21-61”. The camp number blaze shows the initial “B” (for Burke) carved over the Roman numerals for (camp) 65; “B” over “LXV”. The exact “DIG” inscription that Brahe carved is not known. It is variously recalled to be “DIG under” or “DIG 3 FT N.W.” or “DIG 40 FT N.E.” or “DIG 21 APR 61” or a combination of these.In 1899 John Dick carved a likeness of Burke’s face in a nearby tree along with his initials, his wife’s initials and the date.The Dig Tree is a heritage-listed site, having been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 2003.

Historical Short Overview: Robert O'Hara Burke had asked Brahe and the depôt party to remain at the depôt camp on the Cooper for three months. The depôt party actually waited for over four months, but by then they were then running low on supplies and starting to feel the effects of scurvy and they believed Burke would not be returning from the Gulf. Brahe decided to leave Coopers Creek and return to Menindee, but before he left he buried some provisions in case Burke did return and he carved a message on a tree to mark the spot.

The Dig Tree Today: The Dig Tree is situated on private property on “Nappa Merrie Station”, which is currently owned by Kidman & Co. A ‘Dig Tree’ Advisory Board has been established comprising the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Environment, Bulloo Shire Council, Santos and the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, whose role is to oversee the management of the Tree and its surrounds. Due to the fact that it has been so well loved, boardwalks have been constructed around the tree to protect the roots from compaction. Apart from the boardwalk structure, the site as you view it now is as Burke and Wills and companions would have viewed it over 150 years ago.To maintain and improve facilities, develop and protect the site for the enjoyment of present and future generations a small management fee will apply to visitors wishing to access the ‘Dig Tree’ site.

Camping: Camping is permitted at the site anywhere within the fenced area around the ‘Dig Tree’. Basic bush camping facilities are provided, however you need to bring your own firewood as this is no longer provided. To enter the Dig Tree Reserve, all visitors are required to pay a conservation fee per private vehicle. If you have prepaid the fee, please leave your pass on the dashboard. You can either pay online at or by cash by using one of the envelopes provided. Write your vehicle registration on the envelope and then place it in the box before entering.

The South Australia Desert Parks Pass DOES NOT COVER the Conservation fee as the Dig Tree Reserve is in Queensland.

Please feel free to contact the Ranger on 07 4655 4323 or UHF1 for more information or assistance.
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TrekNotes Near This Place (2)



Closest Weather Station

Ballera at 18/03:30pm EST
Distance from The Dig Tree 76.61km E
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Ballera Gas Field
Distance from The Dig Tree 76.61km E
Mean Max. °C39.337.
Mean Min. °C25.824.621.216.711.
Mean Rain mm29.325.331.410.37.815.

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