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German-speakers in Australia

Ludwig Leichhardt

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Image: L. LeichhardtIn 1848 Ludwig Leichhardt and his companions vanished during his second attempt at crossing Australia from east to west. No trace of his expedition has been found. Nine separate extensive but unsuccessful searches were conducted over the next century. With no evidence whatsoever of Leichhardt's fate, his disappearance created heroic mythology and resulted in a number of poems and novels (in German also), including Nobel Prize winner Patrick White's Voss of 1957. Leichhardt left extensive and well-regarded records and publications about his travels.

Having gained a broad knowledge of natural science in Europe, and keen to explore the nature of Australia, Leichhardt emigrated to Australia in 1841 at the recommendation of an English friend. His initial triumph of exploration was a 14-month journey of 4,800 km from Moreton Bay on the east coast to Port Essington on the north coast (on the Coburg Peninsula north-east of Darwin). People had already believed him dead when he returned to Sydney in 1846. He was greeted as a hero, having completed what was up to that time the longest and most daring exploration since Europeans had been in Australia. His discoveries of good pastoral land were welcomed. Ludwig Leichhardt is a legend in Australian history - you can read a list of things and places named after Leichhardt.

Photo: paintingLeichhardt in modern art:
"The Last Days of Leichhardt" by Albert Tucker, 1964.
Harold Mertz Collection,
University of Texas, Houston

Leichhardt's life in Europe before coming to Australia involved studies and travels that were useful for his journeys in Australia. You can read about it by downloading the document in the following link:
leichhardteurope.pdf (PDF file, 130Kb)

See also:
Leichhardt Online - Internet-Portal for info (in English) on F.W. Ludwig Leichhardt (Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen)

Leichhardt Land - Queensland website founded in celebration of Leichhardt's 200th birthday anniversary

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