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Blog post from Thursday, 23 October, 2014

On this day, 23rd October 1813, Ludwig Leichhardt, the botanist and explorer, was born in Prussia (Germany). He arrived in Australia in 1842 and despite lacking the necessary bush survival skills, he undertook expeditions exploring northern and western areas of Australia.

In 1844 Leichhardt led his first expedition to Port Essington, NT, departing from the Darling Downs, Qld, in October and reaching his destination in December 1845. The party crossed vast areas of previously unexplored territory and skirted the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

In April 1848 Leichhardt set out on another expedition, hoping to cross the continent from east to west and follow the coast down to Perth. The expedition headed inland from the Darling Downs. Later that month the party disappeared without a trace. The expedition’s disappearance has been a mystery ever since

The State Library of New South Wales holds collections of original sources relating to Ludwig Leichhardt. See Discover Collections for more information.

Ludwig Leichhardt / portrait drawn by Isobel Fox