|Last contact with Leichhardt in 1848, on his fateful final journey west.|
The Mt Abundance run was taken up in 1847 by Allan MacPherson, a young squatter from New South Wales. MacPherson had come to Queensland seeking new pastures, and had followed the route of Sir Thomas Mitchell into the Mt Abundance area.
Mitchell had named Mt Abundance in 1846 during his expedition to find a route from New South Wales to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Three to four miles beyond Mt Abundance, on the banks of the Cogoon River, Leichhardt and his party reached Allan Macpherson’s Station, the last, isolated outpost of European settlement in central Queensland.
Leichhardt wrote two final letters, as well as a last report for The Sydney Morning Herald.
After a couple of days, they set out, in the early hours of 5 or 6 April 1848, following the Cogoon River northwards.
As author Hans-Wilhelm Finger later wrote: “Unknown land stretched far in front and the convoy disappeared into a wilderness that devoured it for good.”
Following constant conflicts with local Aboriginies, MacPherson decided Mt Abundance was a dangerous place and in late 1849, MacPherson withdrew his sheep from Mt Abundance, leaving it as a cattle station, and returned to England.
In 1856 MacPherson briefly visited Australia at which time he disposed of his pastoral interests, including the sale of Mt Abundance to Stephen Spencer.
Spencer and his family are considered to have been the first European family to sette in the area. It is recorded that when they arrived at the station, it was found to be run down, and the buildings damaged by fire.
Rough huts provided temporary quarters until Spencer built a new homestead, and Mt Abundance station is described as the focal point for the district during this period.
Mt Abundance Homestead provides rare surviving evidence of the pastoral development of western Queensland from the 1850s.
Boab trees flank the relocated entrance, on the south side of the Warrego Highway, close to Muckadilla, west of Roma.
In 2013, the Bicentenary Year of Leichhardt’s birth, moves were underway to place a simple monument and plaque on the highway in this spot, acknowledging the last recorded sighting of Ludwig Leichhardt and his fateful expedition in the area.
Above: This single storeyed timber homestead at Mt Abundance was built ca 1860 for Stephen Spencer, a squatter from New South Wales who arrived in Queensland in 1857. (Queensland Government / Department of Environment and Heritage Protection)
Above: The dwelling post-dates the property as it would have appeared when Leichhardt and his party passed by in 1848 before they disappeared, but nonetheless has an eerie feeling evocative of those times. (Queensland Government / Department of Environment and Heritage Protection)
|Above: Evocative view out from an abandoned property in the Maranoa, near to Roma, shows evidence of recent rainfall, and hints at a distant trail of figures and animals passing out of view across the horizon.
|Above: Flat, stubbly grassland of the Maranoa District around Roma. (Tourism & Events Queensland / Murray Waite & Associates)|
|Above: Lonely windmill at sunset in the Maranoa stands a lonely sentinel to the last sighting of Leichhardt and his party heading west. (Tourism & Events Queensland / Murray Waite & Associates)|