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Nameplate for Ludwig Leichhardt 1848

Object type

Object number

Elongated rectangular brass plate with rounded corners. The plate is pierced by a circular hole at the centre top, and engraved with "LUDWIG. LEICHHARDT. 1848".

Collection name
Bristow Smith collection

Collection statement of significance
The Bristow Smith Collection: Ludwig Leichhardt Nameplate, consists of a brass nameplate bearing Leichhardt's name and the date 1848. It measures 15cm X 2cm.

The disappearance of Ludwig Leichhardt's 1848 expedition party has been one of the enduring mysteries of Australian inland exploration. Many theories have been proposed to explain where Leichhardt may have travelled and died. The nameplate, the first authenticated artefact from the expedition, proves that the explorer got to the Sturt Creek area between the Tanami and Great Sandy deserts. This shows that the explorer succeeded in travelling at least two-thirds of the way across the continent in his bid to cross from east to west, a very considerable achievement at that time. Although the nameplate does not indicate where Leichhardt died, it represents a relic of major significance to Australian history. Leichhardt was regarded as a leading scientist in his time and he was internationally recognised for his earlier feat of exploring from Moreton Bay (Qld) to Port Essington in the Northern Territory. He was a key observer of the Australian environment.

Ludwig Leichhardt

Date made

Ludwig Leichhardt
Ludwig Leichhardt and his party disappeared during an attempt to cross Australia from Moreton Bay in Queensland to the Swan River in Western Australia in 1848

Charles Harding
The nameplate was discovered by an Aboriginal stockman named Jackie who was working for drover and prospector Charles Harding

Reginald Bristow-Smith
Charles Harding gave the nameplate to Reginald Bristow-Smith in about 1917-1918

Place used
Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia

Place used
Northern Territory, Australia

Place used
Tanami Desert, Northern Territory, Australia

Place used
Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia, Australia

Place collected
Sturt Creek Area, Tanami Desert, Western Australia, Australia
The nameplate was discovered attached to a partly burnt firearm in a bottle tree (boab) near Sturt Creek, Western Australia, by an Aboriginal stockman named Jackie

Date of event
Date of the expedition

Date collected
Date the nameplate was found


Width: 145mm
Height: 20mm
Depth: 2mm

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