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