There's a Ludwig Leichhardt Museum in this little village, on the opposite bank of the Spree to Leichhardt's birthplace in Sabrodt, which simply has to be seen to be believed!

About half-way down the western shore of the Schwielochsee, these little municipalities flank the quiet river as it continues its sinuous, lazy way northwest towards Berlin. Trebatsch and Sabrodt nestle at the head of the 50km (30 mile) 'trail' which Leichhardt is known to have walked through the region to reach Cottbus. Around an hour's drive southeast of Berlin, once you leave the autobahn and travel on decreasingly wide country roads and lanes, it is almost as if you are leaving the 21st century behind ~ pockets of wald (forest) interspersed with patchwork fields feel largely unchanged since Leichhardt's time.

In the village of Trebatsch, volunteer museum director Mr André Parade and his team have compiled an amazing collection of artefacts and memorabilia, both German and Australian, about 'their' son of the district. During 2013, the equally-inspired locals have also been busily creating artworks and sculptures around the village as well.

A pleasant sunny day could be spent wandering through the streets of Trebatsch and Sabrodt, seeing these pieces, and finding many more significant locations from Leichhardt's early years. Maps in the museum ~ which also includes an amazing array of items from the working life of the village over the centuries ~ identify these key places of interest. Language differences notwithstanding, we're sure visitors will have no trouble finding locals keen to assist with directions, such is the powerful pride and personal connection they feel.

Among the museum exhibits is one of only two large bronze busts of the famous explorer in existence. The other is in Canberra, a gift from the government of the former East Germany in 1988, as part of Australia's own Bicentenary celebrations. Australia's Ambassador to Germany added to the museum's collection, presenting a framed map of early Australia on behalf of Senator Sue Boyce.

Trebatsch is mentioned on the Tauche municipal website ~ find the link here (in German) ~ and a snapshot of info, including location and contact details for the museum, can be found here. (Please note: visitors should confirm their own arrangements, as opening hours can vary.) For now, we'll let some pictures do the talking.

 IMG 4749 22.10c Trebatsch painting-presentation 290W  IMG 4755 22.10c Trebatsch wall-mural 290W
Above: Ambassador Peter Tesch is presented
with a framed painting by local art student Franka Haase, the tree growing from Leichhardt's head depicting his resting place as now - literally - a
part of Australia. (Foto: MT)
Above: a similar theme is evident in this stunning wall mural, executed by a group of local artists, which depicts Leichhardt's journey from the Spreewald through the Dreaming to his absorption into the landscape. (Foto: MT)
 IMG 4772 PO 22.10c Trebatsch museum DDR bust closeup 290W  IMG 4752 PO 22.10c Trebatsch PT-LG sculpture 290W
Above: the striking bronze bust, commissioned
by the former GDR government, is a great centrepiece of the museum's extensive displays and collection of artefacts. (Foto: MT)
Above: local historian and woodcarver Steffen Böttger describes some of the features of this magnificent carving, in a garden on
Leichhardtplatz, to the Ambassador. (Foto: MT)

During our visit, on 22 October 2013, it was a privilege to be able to add some other very special items from Queensland to the museum's already extensive collection.

In one of the many glass-topped display tables and bookcases, visitors will now be able to see pieces of bark from the living tree in Taroom, in central Queensland, which Leichhardt himself 'blazed' (marked) almost 170 years ago. As well, rocks from the banks of the Dawson River (which he named) below the town, further add to the tangible connections between these two far-flung parts of Leichhardt's world.

IMG 4768 22.10c Trebatsch MT Museum-Director Andre-Parade 290W IMG 4764 22.10c Trebatsch Museum-map poss-final-route 290W
Above: visiting Queenslander Matthew Tesch and museum director André Parade with the very special artefacts from Taroom, which firmly connect the links between these two distant parts of Leichhardt's world. (Foto: MT) Above: this museum display map leaves no doubt that the locals have developed their own theories about Leichhardt's fatal final journey, based on cross-referenced and exhaustive research of their own (Foto: MT)
 IMG 4774 22.10c Trebatsch museum-aerial-photo-290W  IMG 4776 22.10c Trebatsch museum-aerial-map 290W
Above: to help orientate visitors in the museum, this aerial photo shows Trebatsch (lower) on one side of the Spree, with Sabrodt (above) on the
other bank. (Foto: MT)
Above: adjacent to the photo, maps provide clarity about places of interest from Leichhardt's early life, enabling visitors to make their own discoveries with a little walking. (Foto: MT)
IMG 4779 22.10c Trebatsch Museum-exterior-sign 290W IMG 4782 22.10c Trebatsch museum-exterior Aussie-flag 290W
Above: street signage outside the distinctive venue leaves visitors no doubt they have come to the
right place in Trebatsch. (Foto: MT)
Above: not the official visitors' car; rather a little display of another national pride, from the party of travelling Queensland enthusiasts. (Foto: MT)

Trebatsch is mentioned on the Tauche municipal website ~ find the link here (in German) ~ and a snapshot of info, including location and contact details for the museum, can be found here(Please note: visitors should confirm their own arrangements, as opening hours can vary.)

 

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