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In his day, Leichhardt was celebrated as a national hero and lauded as the 'Prince of Explorers', but tragedy was to befall him - he mysteriously disappeared at the age of 35 during an expedition from the Darling Downs in southern Queensland bound for Western Australia's Swan River Settlement. His disappearance remains one of Australia's oldest and earliest cold cases.
More commonly known as Ludwig Leichhardt, Friedrich was born in Trebatsch, Prussia, on 23rd October ,1813.
He arrived in Sydney Australia on 14th February, 1842 with an aim to explore central Australia and study the country's geology, flora and fauna.
His exploration saw him head north from Sydney, traveling from Newcastle to the Moreton Bay Region in 1843, where he became acquainted with the Archer brothers
and travelled to their homestead 'Durundur'. Durundur Station became Leichhardts' base from 1842 to 1843, while he journeyed throughout South-East Queensland recording local flora and fauna.
In 1844, Leichhardt returned to Sydney where he put together a privately funded exhibition to travel from Jimbour on the Darling Downs in Queensland to Western Australia's Swan River. It was this expedition which resulted in his mysterious disappearance.
The memorial reads:
Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt, naturalist and explorer, was born at Trebatsch in Prussia in 1813 and arrived in Australia in 1842.
In June 1843, Leichhardt travelled overland to Moreton Bay. Here he made friends with the Archer brothers and travelled to their homestead 'Durundur' which was located just north of this park. This he used as a base for journeys throughout south-east Queensland throughout late 1843 and the early months of 1844.
The earlier route to the Gympie Gold Fields passed through Durundur Station.
The erection of this monument is the result of a generous donation from Mr Douglas Jolly of Brisbane.
An additional plaque was unvieled by Professor Michael Schuetz Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany on 26th October, 2013. The plaque commemorates the explorations of Leichhardt and his visits to Durundur Station on the 200th anniversary of his birth.
If your interested in reading more about Ludwig Leichhardt's mysterious disappearance, you may enjoy perusing Darrell Lewis', Where is Dr Leichhardt?: the greatest mystery in Australian History available from the Moreton Bay Region Libraries network