Leichhardt Land (Australien)

This 'Down Under' website has been set up in the Bicentenary year of the explorer's birth (2013) as we also look ahead to the 170th anniversaries of his epic expedition (2014-15) across Queensland and northern Australia.

The intention is for this site to become a 'gathering place' (as the traditional custodians of our land might say) or a 'Treffpunkt' ('meeting point') for all things Leichhardt. There is a vast range of pieces published, in books and on the web, but little collected under one roof. It seems a case of advancing slowly, alert to the unusual things you may encounter 'out there' ... rather like the missing explorer himself. 

That's good, in its own way, but unnecessarily frustrating in the 21st century. Much about Leichhardt has passed into myth, legend ~ and the educational syllabus ~ bearing the inaccuracies and politics of the 19th century. For 170 years, students and writers have pondered the question of the man, as much as his fate.

Was he an egomaniacal fool, lucky by accident but fumblingly predestined for tragedy? ... whose efforts towards the discovery of inland Australia were almost in spite of himself, rather than due to any planning, skill or talent?

Or was he a misunderstood and misrepresented foreigner, in a harsh young colony built by prisoners and visionaries? ... whose curiosity about the land and its indigenous inhabitants ~ peoples, flora and fauna ~ was innate, undimmed, and answerable, perhaps, only to his backers and believers?

The truth, of course, is likely to include elements of both.