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A symposium discussing different aspects of explorer and naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt – the man, the mystery, the science and the history.

Overview of the National Museum of Australia’s purchase of the Leichhardt nameplate

Curator Matthew Higgins outlines the work undertaken to establish the authenticity of a small brass nameplate, the first object with a corroborated provenance from explorer Ludwig Leichhardt’s lost 1848 expedition.

He nearly made it: Leichhardt’s ‘grand plan’ of 1848

Darrell Lewis examines German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt’s intended route for his attempted east-west crossing of Australia. Lewis argues that Leichhardt followed his plan and managed to cross two-thirds of the continent.

Scientific analysis of the Leichhardt plate

Conservator David Hallam outlines the metal and corrosion analysis which helped to authenticate the Leichhardt nameplate. The plate is the only known artefact from Ludwig Leichhardt’s lost 1848 Australian expedition with a corroborated provenance.

Leichhardt: the motivations of an explorer

Historian Rod Home looks at Ludwig Leichhardt’s family background, financial situation and formal scientific training to argue the explorer was also a perceptive naturalist with a well-defined research agenda in Australia. NOTE: audio loops from 18:40 on.
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Presenters: Professor Rod Home

Leichhardt as scientist and diarist

Museum Victoria's Tom Darragh uses Ludwig Leichhardt’s diaries to show the skill and accuracy with which the explorer and naturalist recorded scientific observations and information about plants and geological specimens in terminology which is still used today.

Ludwig Leichhardt: a loss to science and Australian culture

Scientist Henry Nix argues that had explorer Ludwig Leichhardt lived, he could have published the results of his scientific observations and joined the company of peers including Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin.

Deepening the mystery: the 1938 South Australian government Leichhardt search party

Historian Philip Jones re-examines evidence found in the Simpson Desert in 1938, which prompted a search for Ludwig Leichhardt’s lost expedition. He argues the search party may have discovered an Aboriginal burial site.

‘A very tolerable addition’: Leichhardt’s mapping of the Balonne River

Curator Martin Woods examines a rare map drawn by Ludwig Leichhardt of the Balonne and Condamine rivers in Queensland. The map raised hopes of an expanded Darling Downs farming district and funded Leichhardt’s final journey.

Leichhardt in Australian literature

The fascination of Australian writers with explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, including Patrick White’s Voss, earlier elegiac poems and Lemurian novels, is examined by English lecturer Susan Martin.

Leichhardt panel discussion

Alice Springs historian Dick Kimber proposes an alternative theory for the fate of Ludwig Leichhardt’s expedition, arguing that it was lost in the Simpson Desert, in a closing discussion with earlier symposium speakers.
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Presenters: Tom Darragh, David Hallam, Matthew Higgins, Rod Home, Philip Jones, Dick Kimber, Darrell Lewis, Susan Martin, Henry Nix and Martin Woods
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