William Landsborough

William Landsborough (* February 21, 1825 in Saltcoats, † March 16, 1886 in Caloundra ) was a Scottish explorer.


William Landsborough was born in Ayrshire, the son of the clergyman Dr. David Landsborough and his wife Margaret ( née McLeish ). He attended school in Irvine. In 1841 he emigrated, following two older brothers to Australia. After discovery of gold in 1851, he participated with some success to the excavations. The land farmed by him in New South Wales, he had to because of lack of profitability give up and moved in 1853 to a farm on the Kolan River near Bundaberg in Queensland, then at the boundary of the populated area. Three years later, he further explored new lands to the north.

In the following years he undertook some private research trips in coastal Queensland. Along with Nathaniel Buchanan he explored in 1859 the tributaries of the Fitzroy River, 1860, the source of the Thomson River and followed in 1861 and later as the Gregory River and Herbert River known rivers to their sources.

Search for Burke and Wills

In August 1861 he was in fourth place, entrusted with an expedition which had the goal of starting to search from the Gulf of Carpentaria by Burke and Wills. Although launched by Melbourne first expedition led by Alfred William Howitt was already in September 1861 to clarify the fate of Burke and Wills, but do not put the remaining three expeditions of John McKinlay, Frederick Walker and Landsborough thereof.

With the brig Firefly to Landsborough expedition made ​​on 24 August 1861 by Brisbane on the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria. On September 4, however, the Firefly aground on a reef at the Sir Charles Hardy Islands. A few days later, the expedition members were from the escort vessel, commanded by William Henry Norman of HMCS Victoria rescued and were able to continue their search. On 1 October, the four Australian Aborigines ( Charlie, Jemmy, Fisherman and Jackey ) and four men of European descent existing team reached the mouth of the Albert River near Burketown of today.

On 10 February 1862, Landsborough made ​​with two of its European and three of his native companions on the way south, followed some time the Flinders River, but found himself thus pushed too far to the east and oriented forward in the direction of Cooper 's Creek (now Cooper Creek called ). There he hoped to find in a landscaped by Howitt Depot stores. On May 21 he reached near Cunnamulla, about 1300 kilometers north of Melbourne, a farm and learned so finally the fate of Burke and Wills '. Two days later Landsborough broke with renewed supplies already on to eventually reach about 300 KM away from the Darling River and Menindee in October 1862 Melbourne.

During the journey, not a human expedition member was killed, only some of the original 30 horses did not survive.

More life

After completing his expedition Landsborough married in Sydney and embarked on a two-year trip abroad that took him to India and England, among others. From 1865 onwards he held until the end of his life in various posts at Public Service of Australia.

Among other things was Landsborough 1866 to 1871 in the newly formed settlement Burketown worked as a police officer, the place that represented the starting point of his search for Burke and Wills. His wife fell ill at this time like many other residents Burke Towns from the disease once known as the Gulf Fever and died in Sydney later. It is still not clear which disease it was; one suspects that it was typhoid or malaria.

In 1873 Landsborough married in Brisbane, the musician and teacher Maria Theresa Carr (* 1845, † 1921).

Some years before his death, the Parliament of Queensland for his services as researchers recognized him a sum of 2000 pounds, which enabled him to purchase at Caloundra a farm on which he spent as much time as possible from this point.


Landsborough died in 1886 at the consequences of a fall from his horse. After he was first buried on his property, leaving his widow in 1913 over the remains lead to the cemetery of Toowong. There have both been their final resting place (position 27.475897152.981041 ).


William Landsborough first discovered a practicable route through Australia in a north-south direction and was rewarded by the Royal Geographical Society with a gold clock.


William Landsborough was eponymous for the city Landsborough, the Landsborough Highway, the Landsborough County, the Landsborough River and the constituency Landsborough in Queensland. In Golden Beach, a southern suburb Caloundras, the main street is named after Landsborough.