|With thanks to Dr Isolde Neugart, our German visitors can read a translation of this summary page here.
In 1844 Ludwig Leichhardt travelled through what is now the Taroom District on his epic expedition of discovery from the Darling Downs to the tip of the Cobourg Peninsula. During his time in this district he named a number of natural features which form part of the many tourist attractions to this area. He also ‘blazed’ (marked) a Coolibah tree that stands in Yaldwyn Street – today the main street of Taroom.
The people of Taroom and its region are fiercely proud of this tree as well as the many natural wonders, such as Expedition National Park, Lake Murphy, the Ruined Castle and the Amphitheatre, named by Leichhardt. He also named the Dawson River and Taroom township stands adjacent to this great river.
Taroom: 1914 - a group of gentlemen stand by the tree 'blazed' by Leichhardt 70 years before. The bloke third from the left, with his arm against the tree, is touching the knot in the bark where the explorer carved his double-L.
(Image courtesy State Library of Qld)
Taroom: 2013 - the main commercial hub of Yaldwyn Street is distinguished by the now enormous tree which still bears the explorer's marks. Within a few blocks are the banks of the Dawson River (beyond, in the background) and the proposed Leichhardt Centre (behind the photographer).
(Image courtesy Cr Vaughn Becker, Banana SC)
In the amalgamation of many Queensland Local Government Areas in the mid-2000s, division 1 of the-then Taroom Shire Council became part of the larger Banana Shire Council, based in Biloela, 200km up the Leichhardt Highway to the northeast. This left under-utilised the substantial brick building which was formerly the Taroom Shire Council Chambers on Yaldwyn Street.
A local progress and promotion group – the Taroom District Development Association (TDDA) – proposed renovating the former chambers as a Centre to honour the achievements of the vanished Prussian explorer. Many in the local and regional community believe that Leichhardt has not been fully and respectfully recognised for his skills and accomplishments, especially along the route from Jimbour to Port Essington.
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