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".
Bristow Smith collection
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.