Leichhardt’s continental treks


 "The absence of water and grass…precluded our progressing further…a severe disappointment, as we had just reached the part of the country through which Leichhardt most probably travelled."
- Augustus Charles Gregory

On an expedition to cross the Australian continent from East to West, the celebrated explorer Ludwig Leichhardt (1813-1848) and his party disappeared.

Despite his relatively short career as an explorer, the Prussian-born botanist had already earned his place as one of Australia’s great pioneer adventurers. His greatest expedition was a remarkable trek of almost 5,000 miles (approx. 8,000 km) that opened up the interior to further exploration and settlement.

Leichhardt was an unlikely explorer, with poor eyesight and a lack of bush skills. Despite this lack of experience, in 1843 he trekked across unfamiliar territory, striking overland from the Hunter River region in NSW to Moreton Bay in Queensland.

Leichhardt became determined to pursue his scientific interests and desire for adventure by travelling into far North Queensland.

Overland expedition to Port Essington [cartographic material] / by Ludwig Leichhardt ; laid down by Capt. Perry Deputy Surveyor General of New South Wales. [
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This story has been developed with the support of the State Library of NSW Foundation.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.