The Australian government has recently come into possession of handwritten letters between the O’Dowd brothers from London dating back to 1770. James O’Dowd was part of the crew of the HMS Endeavor on its exploratory mission of the eastern coast of Australia, while his brother Franklin, worked as a schoolteacher in London. As the legend goes, James overheard the captain bragging about the valuable treasure on board. One night, James stole the loot and left the ship under cover of darkness and buried it somewhere in present-day Sydney, with the intent to return to Australia with his brother to claim it for themselves. The letters between the brothers contained information leading to the buried treasure, however, they were never able to return, and the letters were forgotten. But the rumors remained. Many believed the whole story was a hoax, but new evidence proves otherwise.
As it turns out, the letters and the treasure, are real. The letters were discovered in the estate of James O’Dowd’s great-great-great granddaughter after her passing. She had no living heirs, so her property was entrusted to the government for auction. The letters have been authenticated by historians, and archeologists now know the location of the buried treasure.
To drive tourism and publicity for Australia, the Aussie government has created a challenging treasure hunt for world travelers. To participate, you’ll visit each of the sites outlined in the Sydney Travel Guide, where you’ll solve puzzles to earn an Aussie souvenir. Once you have collected all 10 souvenirs, together they will reveal the location of the buried treasure.