NT Chief Minister's Book Award for "A Wild History"

Post date: Jul 14, 2013 2:48:43 PM

[July 14th 2013 Note]

 Congratulations go out to Darrell Lewis, who has been visiting Kununurra this past week, attending several Kununurra Museum functions, a few days after he had been present in Darwin to receive the NT Chief Minister's - History Book Award, as equal winner, for his book, A Wild History - Life and Death on the Victoria River Frontier.  This book is a must for anyone interested in NT and Kimberley history, a fascinating, well written and referenced, easy read for the general public, being the first overall early history (to circa 1910) of the entire Victoria River district, from Katherine to the East Kimberley WA/NT border regions. [KHS gets a mention in the book acknowledgements!]

Where is Dr. Leichhardt? - Darrell Lewis Interviewed

2013 Lewis-Rothwell-Hammerton Leichhardt (Interview ;^) Expedition

 Another interesting and interested visitor to the Museum this past week was Nicholas Rothwell, author and journalist. Between days in Kununurra last week, Nicholas had been on a trip, probing into and interviewing, to find the real fellow-author, Darrell Lewis, accompanied by Alice Springs based photographer, Rhett Hammerton. They travelled down the Duncan Road and out to the southern side of the Buchanan Highway to beyond Birrindudu. There on the edge of desert country, on the northern side of the Browns Range Dome geological structure, lies a belt of about 280 "big, old" boab trees, cut off by great distance from the nearest of all other Kimberley boab trees, and close to where the Leichhardt name-plate is said to have been found over a century ago, circa 1900.

The Leichhardt nameplate is on display at the National Museum of Australia (NMA), where more information can be found. The image below of the nameplate is from the NMA s web page for the object listing - NMA Collection Object Listing - Leichhardt Nameplate [This link will open in a new tab to keep this page open]

 The brass nameplate (145mm wide x 20mm high x 2mm thick), with the words "LUDWIG.LEICHHARDT 1848," was found on a burnt gun in the hollow of a "bottle-tree," (boab) reputedly with an "L" inscribed on the tree. The gun to which the brass nameplate had been attached, was left at the tree, supposedly having been found by stockman, Charlie Harding's Aboriginal assistant, "Jackie." Little is known of this pair's Kimberley movements, but it would appear that they may have gone out prospecting from Hall's Creek towards the Gardner Range and near the Sturt Creek WA/NT border region and home of these Birrindudu boabs, Despite intensive search by helicopter and quad bike, by Darrell and others in 2007 and 2008 respectively, a boab with an "L" inscribed, nor the gun remains (which would have been an early muzzle-loader), have ever been located. [Andrew Barker - KHS President - 14 VII 2013]