Ludwig Leichhardt - Australian Explorer & Naturalist

Author: Bodo Muche
Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013

Ludwig Leichhardt  - Australian Explorer & Naturalist

"LEICHHARDT"  maquette in bronze for proposed life-size monument.

As an Australian naturalist of German origin, I have had an empathy for and intense interest in the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt for the last thirty years. Leichhardt’s "Reisebericht” of his journey to Port Essington provided the most valuable information for me, and our 2013 travels along Leichhardt’s route, visits and discussions with people were all of great assistance particularly in Cape York Peninsula, through which terrain Leichhardt traveled along the Lynd and Mitchell Rivers. There we visited the confluence of the rivers – where Leichhardt and his party would have camped – and his next camping spot on the Mitchell. This magical river area had special significance for Leichhardt. These two rivers, named by him, were the first to flow west and proved to Leichhardt and his companions, that they were on the right track to Port Essington.

Having had the experience in researching, modeling and producing in bronze or stainless steel several iconic Australian people and animals, which have been installed as life size monumental sculptures, I am pleased to present this concept of a Leichhardt monument, life size in bronze.

This depicts a naturalistic figure of the explorer, reflecting his vision of the journey into the unknown. He carries a satchel for collecting natural history specimens and is resting a foot on a termite mound, typical of those found during his travels in northern Australia. Also included in the sculpture could be a dachshund, which accompanied Leichhardt for most of this journey.

"We all know that Leichhardt, on his last safari to the Swan River settlement, never got there. He was last seen in Southwestern Queensland leaving Coogan Station, established by Allan McPherson. Leichhardt’s scientific and trail blazing achievements for Australia are immense and he would have to be regarded as one of the greatest Australians who ever explored this continent.

"On the 23rd of October we celebrated Leichhardt’s 200th birthday. I made a 35cm-high maquette of the explorer for this occasion and my wife Robyn and I sincerely hope that a life-size bronze sculpture of Leichhardt in his honour will come to fruition in 2014 to celebrate the Explorer's departure from South East Queensland on his epic and successful journey to Port Essington in the Northern Territory.

CLICK HERE > to view in Cultural Collection

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