Home > Audio on demand > Leichhardt symposium > He nearly made it: Leichhardt's 'grand plan' of 1848 > transcript
He nearly made it: Leichhardt’s ‘grand plan’ of 1848
Paper presented by Dr Darrell Lewis, Australian National University
Leichhardt Symposium, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Friday, 15 June 2007
MATTHEW HIGGINS: I would now like to introduce our first speaker, Dr Darrell Lewis. Darrell is an historian and archaeologist from northern Australia, who worked in that area for several decades, and is also a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. We look forward to hearing about ‘He nearly made it: Leichhardt’s grand plan of 1848’.
DARRELL LEWIS: In 1848 Ludwig Leichhardt set out to cross the continent from east to west, from Moreton Bay in Queensland to Swan River in Western Australia. When he left the settled districts of the Darling Downs in April of that year he had seven companions, a large number of horses, mules and bullocks, and all the equipment needed for such an expedition.
This equipment bears some thinking about. No list is known to exist, but we can assume there were notebooks and writing gear, clothes, blankets, pots and pans, plates and mugs, cutlery, axes, shoeing gear, horseshoes and nails, riding and pack-saddles, harness and bullock bells, leather repair gear, guns, powder flasks, ammunition, surveying tools, and no doubt many other items. A lot of the equipment was perishable and would have disintegrated, but a substantial amount was made of metal which would survive for decades. Indeed, items of brass or copper such as bullock bells and powder flasks and the thicker objects of iron such as guns and axes would have survived to the present day.
However, with one and possibly two exceptions, nothing identifiable as belonging to the Leichhardt expedition ever turned up. Apart from a series of trees marked ‘L’, no trace of the expedition was ever found. His disappearance is probably the greatest mystery in Australian history. Since the expedition disappeared, Aboriginal stories of whites dying or being killed beyond the frontier were recorded in many areas and, likewise, the supposed remains of white men or items of European manufacture were also discovered at various places beyond the frontier. These stories and finds were commonly assumed to be evidence of Leichhardt’s fate, and led to innumerable theories being propounded and quite a number of expeditions being mounted.
The theories ranged from destruction by flash floods, death from thirst or hunger, and massacre by Aborigines. The location where such calamities supposedly occurred has ranged from south-west Queensland to the Simpson Desert, the Gulf country, Central Australia, the Lake Eyre region, Arnhem Land, Western Australia - just about everywhere except Tasmania!
So after more than 150 years, what can be said about this great mystery? To answer this, I will begin by looking at what’s known about Leichhardt’s plan for his east-west crossing. Leichhardt first announced his intention to form an expedition to cross the continent in 1846, soon after he had returned to Sydney from his Port Essington trip. But he made it clear he wasn’t planning to go in a direct line from one side to the other. Instead, he said he would more or less follow his old Port Essington track some hundreds of kilometres to the north of Moreton Bay, then turn west and make his way across the northern third of the continent before turning south or south-west towards Swan River.
Leichhardt set out to do this in December 1846, but near Peak Downs, inland from present-day Rockhampton, it rained heavily for weeks, he and his men became sick, most of the stock strayed, and the expedition failed. He returned to the Darling Downs and regrouped for another attempt. But before he set out again he had learned of Major Mitchell’s discovery of what is now known as Barcoo River. Mitchell had named the Barcoo the ‘Victoria’ because, even though it flows consistently south-west, for some obscure reason he thought it flowed to the north-west and was a tributary of the Northern Territory’s Victoria River which runs into Cambridge Gulf, nearly 2000 kilometres away. Leichhardt also learned that Edmund Kennedy had followed up Mitchell’s discovery and found that the Barcoo was actually part of the Cooper Creek system which flows into the savage desert country discovered by Charles Sturt.
The discoveries of Mitchell and Kennedy caused Leichhardt to modify his earlier plan. In several letters he wrote in the weeks before he entered the unknown, he said he’d go west as far as the Barcoo, follow it upstream and cross over to the headwaters of the Gulf rivers. To give just one example, on 26 February 1848 he wrote:
We shall sail down the Condamine, go up the Colgoon, and follow Mitchell’s outward track to the most northern bend of the Victoria. I shall then proceed to the northward until I come in decided water of the gulf, and after that resume my original course to the westward.
The existence of rivers along the north Australian coast was known from the explorations of George Grey, John Lort Stokes and John Clements Wickham, and the Dutch seafarers. Leichhardt speculated that these rivers might have their sources in a range of mountains, in which case there would be rivers flowing from the inland side of the range. If this proved to be the case, he said he would try to find an inland-flowing stream leading towards Swan River and follow it down. We now know there is no such mountain range, and beyond Queensland there are only a few large creeks flowing inland. These all end in flood-outs or ephemeral lakes beyond which is waterless desert country.
Why would Leichhardt have a plan like this, one that would add hundreds if not thousands of kilometres to a more direct route? Part of the answer is that he knew from Sturt’s explorations that there was a terrible desert in Central Australia. In fact, Leichhardt knew there was a desert in the centre before Sturt’s discoveries. When he first arrived in Australia in February 1842, there were very hot winds blowing from the inland. Leichhardt deduced that this air was hot because it flowed over a desert, rather than an inland sea as many then believed. For Leichhardt, Sturt’s discoveries were confirmation rather than revelation.
Avoiding the desert was clearly a smart move, but a much more important reason is that Leichhardt was fired with a ‘grand plan’. Let me explain this. Like many young scientists of his time, Leichhardt was greatly influenced by the work and ideas of the German scientist, Alexander von Humboldt. We know this from one of Leichhardt’s letters in which he said:
As for Humboldt - he set the example that I’ve never forgotten. My admiration for him is boundless.
What was Humboldt’s example? It was his recognition that the earth, its oceans and atmosphere was an integrated physical system, and that flora, fauna and climate are influenced by the interaction of major geographical features - oceans, deserts, mountain ranges, and so on. Because of Humboldt’s work, Leichhardt was keenly aware of the need to look at the ‘big picture’. In various letters he wrote that he wanted to discover the northern extent of Sturt’s desert, the gradual change in plant and animal life from one coast to the other, and to map the northern, north-western and western watersheds.
From these statements we can see that Leichhardt’s ‘grand plan’ was to follow Humboldt’s teachings by determining the major geographical and biological features of the northern half of the continent. With his knowledge of severe desert country in Central Australia and the driving force of his ‘Humboldtian’ aims, I believe we can safely assume that Leichhardt would not have abandoned his ‘grand plan’ once he reached the Barcoo and continued westward towards a severe desert he knew was there, only to perish in south-west Queensland, the Simpson Desert or elsewhere in Central Australia, as some believe. Instead, he would have stuck to his plan to follow up the Barcoo and cross over to the headwaters of the gulf rivers. From there he would have followed a generally westward course through a broad band of country, probably moving back and forth between the watersheds of the northern rivers and the inland, and there is physical evidence that he did just that.
From the 1850s to the 1920s a series of ‘L’ trees was discovered along the Barcoo and Flinders rivers. Two were located on Retreat station near the junction of the Barcoo and Thompson, and two more were found higher upstream near the junction of the Alice and Barcoo. Over the watershed from the upper Barcoo a couple more ‘L’ trees were found along a 200-kilometre stretch of the Flinders River, and several more on the Cloncurry River or its tributaries. The Cloncurry River is actually a tributary of the Flinders, and these ‘L’ trees there were found to the west of a big bend where the Flinders changes course from a more or less westerly direction to a more or less northerly direction. All of these trees were found exactly where Leichhardt said he would go.
One of the ‘L’ trees near the Alice-Barcoo junction was discovered by Captain Frederick Walker while he was searching for Burke and Wills in 1861. And on the same expedition at five or six locations on the headwaters of the Barcoo and Thompson rivers, Walker discovered very old tracks of a large number of horses and mules. When he set out, Leichhardt had 20 mules, seven horses and 50 bullocks with him. The tracks Walker saw were heading north-west, and he had no doubt that they were those of Leichhardt’s long-lost expedition.
Over the years other ‘L’ trees were found further west. Reports came in of a single ‘L’ tree on the headwaters of the Macarthur River, and another on the Barkly Tableland near Anthony’s Lagoon. In the 1950s a tree marked ‘L’ was seen at a remote waterhole between the Roper and Victoria rivers. As recently as last year ‘L’ trees were reported to have existed in the 1950s on an upper tributary of the Diamantina River.
The upper Diamantina trees and the one near Anthony’s Lagoon are inland from the northern catchment, but this can be explained by my suggestion that, to follow his ‘grand plan’, Leichhardt would have had to move back and forth between the headwaters of the northern rivers and the inland. Anthony’s Lagoon is on Creswell Creek, an inland-flowing stream which runs to the south-west. The existence of an ‘L’ tree near Anthony’s Lagoon suggests that Leichhardt found Creswell Creek and followed it down in the hope it would prove to be the ‘highway’ to the Swan River he was hoping for. Instead, it ends in Lake Tarrabool, which is a giant flood-out on the west side of the Barkly Tableland that is usually waterless except after very heavy rains.
Apart from ‘L’ trees other possible clues were found. In 1860 explorer McDouall Stuart found what he believed were old horse tracks near Tennant Creek, south-west of Lake Tarrabool. And at Newcastle Waters in 1862 he saw a boy he thought was of mixed Aboriginal-European descent, north-west of Lake Tarrabool. In the mid-1880s on Wave Hill station, which abuts the northern edge of the Tanami Desert, the settlers shot dead a mixed-race man who was old enough to have been fathered by one of Leichhardt’s party. In about 1910 an Aboriginal woman from the Tanami told of bullocks wearing bells in her country, before there were any white settlers in the wider region. This woman was taken from Tanami to Darwin as a witness, probably to a murder case, where she told the story of seeing bullocks with bells before any settlers were there.
Another story comes from Jack Beasley, who was one of the very early stockmen in the Victoria River district. Jack claimed that, in the desert south of Wave Hill, he met an old Aboriginal woman who had an adult son of mixed Aboriginal-European descent. Presumably the son was middle aged because: ‘From her account of his origin Jack formed the opinion that he was the son of a member of Leichhardt’s party’. Stories of mixed race people and possible old horse tracks may have only a tenuous link to Leichhardt, but not so to the Leichhardt plate now in the collection of the National Museum.
This plate, made from brass and stamped with ‘LUDWIG LEICHHARDT 1848’ was originally attached to the remains of an old gun. This gun was found in the early 1900s by an Aboriginal who was named Jacky and who was then working for a white man named Charles Harding. Harding was a drover who worked in the east Kimberley country in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Apparently he did some prospecting in the arid country to the south, probably during the wet season when droving wasn’t possible but the rains made water readily available in the desert. It was during one of these prospecting trips that Jacky found the gun with the plate attached and gave it to Harding. Harding discarded the gun but kept the plate which he is said to have treasured. He made no attempt to seek publicity or to make money from its discovery. In other words, he wasn’t trying to big-note himself or get rich, so almost certainly it was not a hoax that he had perpetrated himself. In about 1918 he gave it to a young teenage acquaintance, RH Bristow-Smith. Ownership of the plate eventually passed to Bristow-Smith’s son Jeffrey, and then to Jeffrey’s widow who sold it to the National Museum last year.
In the 1930s the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia investigated the origin of the plate. But by this time Charles Harding was dead, so the only available information came from Bristow-Smith and others who had discussed the plate with Harding. From them the society learned that the plate had been found attached to a partly burnt and rusted firearm in a bottle tree marked with an ‘L’. This tree was said to be near Mount Inkerman, near the Musgrave Range, close to Sturt Creek and about 90 miles from the Western Australian border. When the investigation was begun the locations of Sturt Creek and the Western Australian border were known, but the only known Musgrave Range was the one in northern South Australia and the only known Mount Inkerman was in Queensland.
The term ‘bottle tree’ was another problem. In Queensland it was the common name of Brachychiton rupestris, a large species of kurrajong with a distinctive bottle shape. It was thought that some Queensland bushmen might call any kurrajong species a bottle tree. Ordinary kurrajongs were known to exist near the South Australian Musgrave Range, but the term was also a name commonly applied to the boab, Adansonia gregorii, found in the Kimberley and the northern part of the Victoria River district.
Initially it was believed that boabs were only found in country well to the north of Sturt Creek, but it was subsequently learned that there was a scattering of boabs in a swathe of desert country north of the Gardner Range between Sturt Creek station and Birrindudu on the northern edges of the Tanami. These boabs are separated from the ‘real’ boab country to the north by a wide belt of open blacksoil grasslands and also some savanna country to the north of the grasslands. It was also learnt that, in the region where the desert boabs grow, there was a hill known to local Aborigines as ‘Inkermani’, and there was a Musgrave Range about 150 kilometres south-west of the Gardner Range.
The Royal Geographical Society eventually came to the conclusion that the plate was probably genuine and that it was found in the north-west Tanami. That is more or less where the story ended for them. But what the society didn’t learn is what Dick Kimber has since, and that is there is a Mount Musgrave and a Mount Inkerman to the south of Alice Springs. Based on the information of place names, we then have three possible locations where the plate was found: the South Australian Musgrave Range area; a region to the south of Alice Springs; or the Sturt Creek area of the north-west Tanami. Can we identify which place is the correct one, or at least, the most likely?
I believe that the evidence is strongly in favour of the north-west Tanami being the correct place. First, Bristow-Smith family tradition is that the plate was found in the northern Tanami Desert. Second, an origin in the northern Tanami is also supported by oxides and corrosion detected on the plate during recent scientific examination. These discoveries will be explained in detail by David Hallam later on. Briefly, there are oxides on the plate that form on brass during long-term exposure to hot arid conditions, and corrosion which occurs in hot humid conditions. Across the tremendous vastness of the outback it can be very hot or very cold, but humidity levels are almost always low, so development of corrosion reflecting prolonged exposure to hot humid conditions is likely to be minimal. But the north-west Tanami Desert is within the tropical monsoon belt. In this region the winter days are very hot and very dry, while in summer it is very hot and very humid, day and night. These alternating conditions occur much less frequently and are of much shorter duration as you move further south towards Central Australia. In other words, the northern Tanami is an ideal location for the features now seen on the plate to develop.
Third, Leichhardt planned to pass through a broad zone incorporating the headwaters of the north Australian rivers and the adjacent inland country, and to follow any stream he found flowing inland to the west or south west. His plan was to follow up the Barcoo, cross to the headwaters of the Flinders and then keep to the headwaters of the northern rivers. But he wanted to find the northern extent of the desert so he needed to leave the headwaters and go inland to do that. So I envisage a broad zone from the headwaters to the inland some distance in a swathe across the north. This zone would encompass the northern Tanami country and Sturt Creek but would not come remotely close to the other two areas south of Alice Springs.
If we accept the plate as a genuine Leichhardt relic left in the north-west Tanami, this doesn’t tell us anything about what happened to him or his expedition. But I can make a suggestion. The place where the plate appears to have been found is a relatively short distance from Sturt Creek, probably within a few days walk, and Sturt Creek is an inland-flowing stream which heads generally south west. Given his hope of finding a stream that would lead him towards Swan River, Leichhardt would have followed Sturt Creek downstream only to find that it ends in the salt waters of Lake Gregory. At this point his choice was to go forward or retreat. There is evidence that he, or at least some of his men, went forward.
In 1889 a man named Alec McPhee was working with local Aborigines at La Grange on the Ninety Mile Beach south of Broome, where the Great Sandy Desert meets the sea. The dunes come right to the coast. The Aborigines told McPhee that a white man was living in their tribal area deep in the desert, so he decided to get his pack horses and go out and investigate. His Aboriginal guides took him to Joanna Spring, about 600 kilometres inland from the coast, and then they made contact with their countrymen in the area. The whiteman turned out to be Jun Gun, a very pale-skinned Aboriginal.
While McPhee was questioning the old people at the spring, they told him that long ago in the country of their neighbours far to the south east, three or four mounted horsemen had entered the region from the north or north-east. Their neighbours had seen the men come, and later followed their tracks and found them and their horses dead. The tracks showed that they had gone from rock outcrop to rock outcrop, no doubt hoping to find a rockhole. First their horses died, then the party split up and, one by one, each of the men also perished. Their neighbours were said to still possess items taken from the dead men and horses, including an iron axe and harness. No party of three or four horsemen is known to have gone missing in this part of the world. Remember, the Aborigines said it was ‘long ago’ - long ago before 1889, which suggests that it was well before the settlers arrived in the Kimberley and Victoria River districts in the early 1880s, and well before the miners arrived on the Kimberley goldfield in 1886. Who else could it have been but Leichhardt or members of his expedition?
The Aborigines at Joanna Spring told McPhee that the country of their neighbours was about 10 days’ walk to the south east, and McPhee estimated that this would amount to about 330 kilometres. Now, 330 kilometres south-east of Joanna Spring brings you to a point about 150 kilometres south of Lake Gregory. Most of the country between this point and Lake Gregory is relatively open and free from large sand dunes or rough range country. According to ethnographer Norman Tindale, it is the territory of the Ildawongga people.
As a result of McPhee’s discovery, in 1891 an expedition was sent out to explore the blank areas of the Gibson and Great Sandy deserts and to search for traces of Leichhardt, but because of severe drought and dissension amongst the expedition members it failed before it achieved much. Four years later David Carnegie succeeded in making the first known south to north crossing of the Great Sandy Desert. About 300 kilometres south-south-east of Joanna Spring and judging from Tindale’s map still within the territory of the Ildawongga, Carnegie met a family of Aborigines at a native well. He named the place ‘Family Well’ in their honour. These Aborigines had in their possession part of a saddle tree, the lid from a metal match box and a heavy iron tent peg, all carefully wrapped up and obviously prized by them.
Somehow Carnegie obtained these items from the Aborigines and later sent the tent peg to JA Panton, the chief magistrate of Melbourne, who was regarded as an authority on Leichhardt. Panton’s opinion was that the peg probably came from Leichhardt’s expedition, though how he could have come to such a conclusion is unclear. The peg could have been obtained from a far distant place via Aboriginal trade links but, equally, it could have been found by the Aborigines a relatively short distance from Family Well. Carnegie himself made the point that in 1895 heavy iron tent pegs were old-fashioned and that this example was for use on a very large tent which only an expedition would carry. It is said that when Leichhardt left on his last expedition he had with him one large tent.
Finally, I should point out that, since European settlement, the country of the Ildawongga and surrounding groups – that is, the western Tanami and eastern Great Sandy Desert country - has been and remains one of the most remote and seldom visited parts of Australia. If my suggestion is correct, that three or four of Leichhardt’s party perished in the area where the Tanami, Great Sandy and Gibson deserts meet, it would explain why virtually no relics of his expedition were ever found. It is a region where some of the last uncontacted Aborigines remained living in the bush until the 1980s. It is the perfect place for the remains of a lost exploring expedition to remain undiscovered for nearly 160 years. Thank you.
MATTHEW HIGGINS: That was a very compelling paper on the fact that Leichhardt nearly made it, that he did get across quite terrible country between those two deserts and that is where the remains may still reside today.
HARVEY MARCHANT: Given the very compelling evidence that you give for Leichhardt’s track to the north, what is the basis of the legend that he perished in the north part of the Simpson Desert, particularly in the area of the Plenty River?
DARRELL LEWIS: As I understand it, the basis is that there were a couple of ‘L’ trees found on Glenormiston station and one at Arltunga. I don’t know who put the ‘L’ trees there. I can’t see Leichhardt getting as far as, say, Lake Gregory and retreating from that desert to then head to a very severe desert that he knew existed. When the frontier reached the Glenormiston area there was a character called Jack-Dick Skuthorpe who was one of the people who claimed he had gone out beyond the frontier and met a Leichhardt survivor, Classen, and had retrieved the journals of Leichhardt and Classen. Skuthorpe was regarded by some at least as a bit of a charlatan because he made other claims at different times about amazing exploits and discoveries. He certainly was out there. Perhaps he carved the ‘L’s to give him some credibility, or it was somebody else.
There is one other explanation perhaps: the Aboriginal story from the Great Sandy is that there three or four horsemen who came in and perished. There were seven or eight members altogether. There are three or four unaccounted for. They could have died from any number of causes before they got to the Great Sandy but, equally, they could have had a fight amongst themselves and some said, ‘We’re going to go back.’ But again I would ask: why would a dissenting group, almost certainly not Leichhardt’s group, go back and then cut into totally unknown desert country rather than follow their outward route where they knew where the water was? Why would they head towards that terribly severe desert that they almost certainly knew was there? I can’t imagine that they would not have asked Leichhardt, ‘Why are we going way up north rather than go direct?’ if they hadn’t heard about the discoveries of Sturt themselves. I can’t understand why any of Leichhardt’s team would have gone down there. Someone else might provide a good answer. I can’t.
DICK KIMBER: I think Darrell has presented an excellent case and I applaud him for that. I also take his earlier point that evidence of Leichhardt has been found by various people everywhere except Tasmania. The only other point I make at this stage is that my understanding is he had a friend called Reverend Clark to whom he said, ‘I intend to go direct. As direct as I can.’ He had the information from Sturt that Eyre Creek would provide a good depot for anyone intending to go around the desert he had found. I will leave it at that at this point. I think you have presented an excellent case and I commend you for it.
DARRELL LEWIS: Leichhardt outlined the plan that I have outlined here in four or five separate letters when he was on the frontier about where he would go. I can’t see him suddenly changing his mind. He had that Humboldtian ‘grand plan’. Going direct would do away with that.
HENRY NIX: I would simply confirm that. He wrote three letters to his brother-in-law in Germany and one to the Sydney Morning Herald in the days before he left on his last expedition in which he made it very clear which track he would take - and it wasn’t due west.
DARRELL LEWIS: Why would you - this terrible desert? He had that plan.
ROD HOME: Thinking about the ‘L’ trees in south-west Queensland, wasn’t Landsborough through there as well? Might they not be his?
DARRELL LEWIS: William Landsborough followed the Flinders River down in 1861 but he kept to the north and east side of the river all the way. When he marked a tree, he marked it with an ‘L’ but also usually in Roman numerals the number of camp or a date. It wasn’t just a plain ‘L’. One of the ‘L’ trees was found by Gregory in 1858, which was before Landsborough, and another was found by Frederick Walker in 1861 and another was found in 1864. There is no way they could misidentify a tree carved recently with one carved much earlier. Leichhardt would have carved it in 1848 and Landsborough in 1861. These men were bushmen – they wouldn’t mistake a recently cut tree with one of the very old ones. That is one of the main reasons. Also a number of his trees were found outside Landsborough’s track. For instance there were two different lots found on the Cloncurry River. So I don’t think there is any doubt that they are Leichhardt trees.
GRAHAM CLIFTON: Can you tell us a bit more about the bullock wearing a bell that the Aboriginal lady found in the Tanami Desert. Is there any other explanation how it got there other than Leichhardt?
DARRELL LEWIS: I haven’t got any other explanation. We have to take these things at face value. This woman was apparently taken from the Tanami to Darwin and told the story. I only have the one account written by a policeman who basically said what I have told you. When she said there were no white men in the wider region - perhaps her wider region wasn’t wide enough and they were on the telegraph line or somewhere. Possibly it strayed that far. It is all possible. But there are alternate explanations for that and also for the old horse tracks supposedly seen by John McDouall Stuart. If you put it in the context of Leichhardt’s planned route, they are possibly evidence. I said they were tenuous. That is all I can say.
DICK KIMBER: This is more of a comment than a question. Leichhardt was highly upset by Major Mitchell’s comment that he was ‘nothing but a damned coaster’. That is an important point in regard to the possibility of this alternative case of him travelling more directly. I found it very interesting that I think he was looking for Diprotodons when he did his first trip. He was clearly interested in them and found some recent bones. But that possibility of him being challenged by Mitchell on what I thought was a fantastic first trip, but he is just a ‘damn coaster’ after that, is the possibility of him changing his route plan. That is all I would like to say.
DARRELL LEWIS: If he had followed the plan to try to map the northern extent of Sturt’s desert and the headwaters of the rivers he would have been moving into the inland quite a bit. The headwaters are already inland from there, but you do have reports of the ‘L’ tree on Creswell Creek and on the upper Diamantina which are inland from the northern watersheds - and of course the horse tracks, the boy and the bullock bell. So you couldn’t really call him a coaster within that plan. Mitchell could but nobody else would.
MATTHEW HIGGINS: And Mitchell could.
DARRELL LEWIS: I just wanted to add that a report was recorded from Aborigines in Western Australia about a number of whites dying on a salt lake in Western Australia. I think it was John Forrest who went out to investigate. He went as far as Lake Barlee. For various reasons he decided that the reports related to land-seeking expeditions that passed through the country. Nobody had died but there were horses there. But I still wonder if perhaps there were these white men who had perished near a salt lake further up, and the story was passed along the Aboriginal networks. By the time it got down in this area people couldn’t say where it was except they knew the story and it was somewhere up to the north. It is remotely possible that the story they heard there was about these men who perished where I suggest. That is all.
MATTHEW HIGGINS: Thank you very much, Darrell. I don’t know about you but I feel I was really there with Leichhardt trying to find a way forward. It is such a fascinating question to try to understand where he ended up.
Disclaimer and Copyright notice
This is an edited transcript typed from an audio recording.
The National Museum of Australia cannot guarantee its complete accuracy.
© National Museum of Australia 2007. This transcript is copyright and is intended for your general use and information. You may download, display, print and reproduce it in unaltered form only for your personal, non-commercial use or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) all other rights are reserved.
Date published: 14 March 2008