On 26 October 2013, an often-overlooked aspect of Leichhardt's early travels in southeast Queensland was given renewed focus in metal and stone.
Woodford, an hour's drive northwest of Brisbane, nestles between the D'Aguilar and Conondale / Blackall Ranges. Much of the adjacent countryside was once part of the sprawling 'Durundur' station, settled by the Archer brothers in 1841 ~ the first European settlers in the district. Ludwig Leichhardt found his way there in 1843, and stayed at Durundur for eight months as he explored deep into the hinterland, before he set off on his great expedition in 1844.
The Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AC, Patron of the Royal Historical Society of Quensland, unveiled a statue dedicated to the Archers. Ms Wensley and Germany's Queensland Honorary Consul Professor Michael Schütz then unveiled a plaque recognising Leichhardt's time there.
Woodford and District Historical Society (WHS) played host, with support from Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC). WHS President Ron Trim and Secretary Ms Shirley Wallis welcomed Her Excellency and Professor Schütz, supported by MBRC Councillors Adrian Raedel, Gary Parsons and Greg Chippendale and other WHS office-bearers. Many from the local community and schools were present, including Ms Zenovia Pappas, who had curated a Leichhardt display in the Woodford Community Museum and Arts Centre.
It was reported that the the entertainment was lively, speeches short, and the weather fine and sunny ~ all undoubtedly appreciated by Prof. Schütz, who had returned from Germany only very early that same morning!
WHS secretary Shirley Wallis said the Archer memorial, created by Woodford sculptor Guy Robinson, was "outstandingly lovely." She said behind it would be the site of the Archer's homestead, Durundur, today on private land nearby. The inscription on the Leichhardt plaque reads: "On the 200th anniversary of his birth this plaque commemorates the explorations of Ludwig Leichhardt and his visit to Durundur Statiion in 1842. Unveiled by Professor Michael Schuetz, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany. 26 October 2013”.
The 'Durundur Monument' and Leichhardt plaque are located in Cruice Park on Kilcoy-Beerwah Rd, just off the D'Aguilar Highway.
Above: group photo following the unveiling of both memorials: sculptor Guy Robinson stands near
Her Excellency, with Honorary Consul Prof. Michael Schütz second from left, and WHS president
Ron Trim on the far right, flanking other WHS office-bearers and members of the local community.
Click on the image to see a larger version.
Our thanks to the WHS and other local reporting for the information and photos. You can also find the formal Vice-Regal report on the Government House website here and information about the WHS, including contact details, on the MBRC's website pages here and here. You can find more photos of the monument, plaque and park on the next page of this article, thanks to John Jennings, who visited after the official opening.
Charles Archer was born in 1813 in Perth, Scotland, one of thirteen children of the timber merchant William Archer and his wife Julia, nee Walker. In 1825 the family moved to Larvik, Norway. Charles Archer and his brothers John, David, William, Archibald, Thomas and Colin successively came to Australia. Charles Archer arrived in Sydney in 1841 and worked there until 1843. By then his brothers David, Thomas and John had taken up land in the Moreton Bay District, Durundur (or Durandur) Station near present-day Woodford. Charles joined his brothers there in 1843.
In 1845 the Archers took up runs at Woroongundi, Emu Creek and Cooyar in the Brisbane Valley. Further exploring expeditions north took Charles, William and Colin Archer as far as the Fitzroy River and the Peak Downs District. The brothers settled on the Fitzroy River in 1855 and named their property Gracemere. Present-day Rockhampton now partly occupies the original Gracemere run. Charles Archer returned to Norway in 1857 and died there in 1862 as the result of a skiing accident.
An interesting article about the fate of the Durundur estate can be found on the Queensland Historical Atlas website here.
Following publication on this website of the official opening celebrations, we were contacted by retired former Taroom Shire Council executive John Jennings. John visited Cruice Park and kindly supplied these images, so visitors may obtain a clearer look at the monument and its location without the crowds. Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.