In search of Leichhardt - Augustus Charles Gregory
Leichhardt embarked on his second expedition in 1848, hoping to cross the continent from east to west and follow the coast down to Perth. In early April, the expedition headed inland from the Darling Downs, Queensland. Later that month Leichhardt and his party disappeared without a trace. The expedition's disappearance has been a mystery ever since.
In 1858, Augustus Charles Gregory (1819-1905) led an expedition for the New South Wales Government in search of traces of Leichhardt. After several months of preparation, Gregory and his party of 7 experienced bushman and 40 horses each carrying 150 lb (68 kg) of provisions set out from the area near Ipswich in March 1858. They reached the Barcoo River in April and found a tree marked ‘L’ by Leichhardt, but drought conditions ultimately forced them to abandon the search and travel to Adelaide. The fate of Leichhardt was as much in doubt as ever.
Augustus Charles Gregory was an experienced explorer, and later surveyor-general of Queensland. In 1855 he led an important scientific expedition to explore the north of Australia. Leaving Moreton Bay in August 1855, his party of 18 men explored the Victoria, Elsey, Roper and Macarthur Rivers and discovered and named the Leichhardt River. They then returned to Brisbane by way of the Flinders, Burdekin, Fitzroy and Burnett Rivers, taking sixteen months to complete the expedition. Gregory was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his efforts.