Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt

Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig LeichhardtAllan Cunningham's discoveries extended over the northern parts of New South Wales and the southern districts of Queensland. But all the north-eastern parts of the continent were left unexplored until 1844, when an intrepid young German botanist, named Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt (commonly known as Ludwig Leichhardt), made knwon this rich and fertile country. With five men he started from Sydney, and, passing through splendid forests and magnificent pasture lands, he made his way to the Gulf of Carpentaria, discovering and following up many large rivers- the Fitzroy, with its tributaries- the Dawson, the Isaacs and the Mackenzie- the Burdekin, with several of its branches; then the Mitchell; and lastly , the Gilbert. He also crossed the Flinders and Albert without knowing that, a short time previously, htese rivers had been discovered and named by Captain Stokes. Having rounded the Gulf, he discovered the Roper and followed the Alligator River down to Van Diemen's Gulf, where a vessel was waiting to receive his party. On his return to Sydney the utmost enthusiasm prevailed; for Leichhardt had made known a wide stretch of valuable country. The people of Sydney raised a subscription of £1,500 and the Government rewarded his services with £1,000. Leichhardt was of too ardent a nature to remain content with what he already done; and, in 1847, he again set out to make further explorations in the north of Queensland. On this occasion, however, he was not so successful. He had taken with him great flocks of sheep and goats and they impeded his progress so much that, after wandering over the Fitzroy Downs for about seven months, he was forced to return.

Vanished Without a Trace

In 1848 he organized a third expedition, to cross the whole country from east to west. He proposed to start from Morton Bay and to take two years in traversing the centre of the continent and reaching the Swan River Settlement. He started with a large party and soon reached the Cogoon River - a tributary of the Condamine. From this point he sent to a friend in Sydney a letter in which he described himself as in good spirits and full of hope that the expedition would be a success. He then started into the wilderness and was lost for ever from men's view. For many yeras expeditions were, from time to time, sent out to rescue the missing explorers, if, perchance, they might be wandering with the blacks in the interior; but no traces of the lost expedition have ever been brought to light.



History of Australia