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2013 Australia Post Stamp Sheetlet Pack Ludwig Leichhardt Joint Issue with Germany

$12.95 AUD

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15 October 2013 – Joint Issue with Germany: Leichhardt

This joint stamp issue with Germany focuses on the mysterious disappearance of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt who was last seen on 3 April 1848.

The issue is now sold out.

Australia and Germany are commemorating the 200th birth anniversary of German explorer and naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt (1813-c1848) with the release of a joint stamp issue. Australia Post Philatelic Manager Michael Zsolt said, “Leichhardt’s legacy includes his contribution to the natural sciences in Australia which is detailed in his field books, notebooks, journals and diaries. His mysterious disappearance in the Australian outback during one of his expeditions ensures he lives on in our nation’s mythology.” 

Leichhardt undertook three major expeditions in Australia: an overland expedition from the Darling Downs, Queensland to Port Essington in the Northern Territory from October 1844 to December 1845, an unsuccessful attempt in December 1846 to cross Australia from east to west, and a final east-west quest to cross the continent from the Condamine River, Queensland to the Swan River in Western Australia. This last expedition, which set out in March 1848, resulted in the disappearance of Leichhardt and his entire party, of which no remains have ever been found.



The stamps sheetlet in this pack feature a portrait of Ludwig Leichhardt from around 1846, which is held by the National Library of Australia. The stamp was designed by Melbourne-based designer Gary Domoney.


Other post products including this stamp issue are a first day cover, joint issue first day cover, sheetlet pack (on offer here), joint issue stamp pack, maxicard and a postal and numismatic cover.


Leichhardt was born in the village Trebatsch, today part of Tauche, in the Prussian Province of Brandenburg. He was the fourth son and sixth of the eight children of Christian Hieronymus Matthias Leichhardt, farmer and royal inspector and his wife Charlotte Sophie, née Strählow. Between 1831 and 1836 Leichhardt studied philosophy, language, and natural sciences at the Universities of Göttingen and Berlin but never received a university degree. He moved to England in 1837, continued his study of the natural sciences at various places, including the British Museum, London, and the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, and undertook field work in several European countries, including France, Italy and Switzerland.

On 14 February 1842 Leichhardt arrived in Sydney, Australia. His aim was to explore inland Australia and he was hopeful of a government appointment in his fields of interest.[4] In September 1842 Leichhardt went to the Hunter River valley north of Sydney to study the geology, flora and fauna of the region, and to observe farming methods. He then set out on his own on a specimen-collecting journey that took him from Newcastle, New South Wales, to Moreton Bay in Queensland.

After returning to Sydney early in 1844, Leichhardt hoped to take part in a proposed government-sponsored expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington (300 km north of Darwin, Northern Territory). When plans for this expedition fell through Leichhardt decided to mount the expedition himself, accompanied by volunteers and supported by private funding. His party left Sydney in August 1844 to sail to Moreton Bay, where four more joined the group. The expedition departed on 1 October 1844 from Jimbour, the farthest outpost of settlement on the Queensland Darling Downs.

After a nearly 4,800 km (3,000 mi) overland journey, and having long been given up for dead, Leichhardt arrived in Port Essington on 17 December 1845. He returned to Sydney by boat, arriving on 25 March 1846 to a hero’s welcome. “The Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia, from Moreton Bay to Port Essington, a Distance of Upwards of 3000 Miles, During the Years 1844 and 1845 by Leichhardt” describes this expedition in detail.

In 1848 Leichhardt again set out from the Condamine River to reach the Swan River. The expedition consisted of Leichhardt, four Europeans, two Aboriginal guides, seven horses, 20 mules and 50 bullocks. He was last seen on 3 April 1848 at McPherson’s Station, Coogoon, on the Darling Downs. His disappearance after moving inland, although investigated by many, remains a mystery. The expedition had been expected to take two to three years, but after no sign or word was received from Leichhardt it was assumed that he and the others in the party had died. The latest evidence suggests that they may have perished somewhere in the Great Sandy Desert of the Australian interior. The Europeans are named as Adolph Classen, Arthur Heutig, Donald Stuart, and Kelly.

Four years after Leichhardt’s disappearance the Government of New South Wales sent out a search expedition under Hovenden Hely. The expedition found nothing but a single campsite with a tree marked “L” over “XVA”. In 1858 another search expedition was sent out, this time under Augustus Gregory. This expedition found only a couple of trees marked “L”.

In 1864 Duncan McIntyre discovered two trees marked with “L” on the Flinders River near the Gulf of Carpentaria. After his return to Victoria McIntyre telegraphed the Royal Society on 15 December 1864 that he had found “two trees marked L about 15 years old”.[6] He was subsequently appointed leader of a search expedition, but found no further trace of Leichhardt.

In 1869 the Government of Western Australia heard rumours of a place where the remains of horses and men killed by indigenous Australians could be seen. A search expedition was sent out under John Forrest, but nothing was found, and it was decided that the story might refer to the bones of horses left for dead at Poison Rock during Robert Austin’s expedition of 1854.

The mystery of Leichhardt’s fate remained in the minds of explorers for many years. During David Carnegie’s expedition through the Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts in 1896 he encountered some Aborigines who had among their possessions an iron tent peg, the lid of a tin matchbox and part of the ironwork of a saddle. Carnegie speculated that these were from Leichhardt’s expedition. Except for a small brass plate that was found in 1900 bearing Leichhardt’s name, “no artefacts with corroborated provenance have been able to shed light on Leichhardt’s final expedition”

*All history taken from Wikipedia for educational purposes only.

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