Leichhardt: A Scientist in a Strange Land

The Valley of Lagoons

“A chain of lagoons connected by a reedy brook followed the outlines of the table land, along the foot of its steep slopes.”

Leichhardt diary entry, 4 May 1845

While following the course of the Burdekin River, rough terrain forced the expedition to detour and climb an outcrop of basalt and continue across a flint-strewn plateau. Approximately eight kilometres later the party came upon the Valley of Lagoons. Making camp in the valley, Leichhardt commented in his journal that “all the elements of fine pasturing country, were here united”. However, he was not just impressed with the areas of pastoral value. In describing the beauty of the area, he commented on its “most luxuriant vegetation”, “blue distant ranges” and on it being “the most picturesque landscape” they had seen to date.

John Gilbert, the expedition’s ornithologist, also noted in his diary, with unfortunate insight, that this beautiful area along with its Aboriginal occupants and abundant wildlife, would be dispersed or destroyed when settled by Europeans. In later years many of the Aboriginal people were to fall victim to disease and the encroaching European settlement. 

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