Ludwig Leichhardt was born in Prussia and studied in Germany. He was a passionate botanist who had an interest in exploration, although he lacked necessary bush survival skills.
In October 1844, he left from Jimbour Station on the Darling Downs on an expedition to find a new route to Port Essington, near Darwin. The trip took 14 months and covered over 4,800km.
On 7 December 1846, Leichhardt departed from Jimbour Station on his second expedition. His intention was to cross Australia from east to west.
However, the expedition was beset with sickness, paper-wasp bites, and discontent among his men after travelling only 800km.
The wet weather season set in with a vengeance, forcing the party to wade through deep mud. Six months later Leichhardt returned to Jimbour Station, achieving nothing of his aim.
It was nearly another year before Leichhardt attempted the crossing again, this time disappearing with his entire party somewhere in the centre of Australia.