February 21, 1825|
|Died||March 16, 1886
|Occupation||Explorer, public servant|
|Parents||David Landsborough, Margaret née McLeish|
Landsborough was born in Stevenston, Ayrshire, Scotland, the son of Rev Dr David Landsborough (a clergyman, entomologist and artist) and his wife Margaret, née McLeish. William Landsborough was educated in Irvine and migrated to Australia in 1841.
Life in Australia
He took up land in the New England district of New South Wales but had to abandon it because it was unproductive. When gold was discovered in 1851, he went to the diggings and had some success. He returned to the land again in 1853 in Queensland. With Nathaniel Buchanan he explored the tributaries of the Fitzroy River in Queensland in 1859. Bad seasons, however, resulted in his losing all his pastoral interests in 1860.
Exploration of Northern Australia
On 1 October the party of four whites and four aborigines arrived by ship at the mouth of the Albert River at the site of current Burketown with 25 horses. Landsborough started on 16 November south west in the direction of Central Mount Stuart. He discovered and traced the Gregory River to its source, then skirted the Barkly Tableland and found an inland river flowing south, which he named the Herbert, which was later renamed the Georgina River, little water could be found and no trace of Burke and Wills and, deciding to return, he arrived at his depot at the Albert River towards the end of January 1862.
On 10 February he started his journey to the south and was fortunate in finding well-grassed country. In the middle of March he was following the Flinders River, but finding he was getting too far to the east, struck south to the Thomson River and then the Barcoo River. Stores began to run short and had Landsborough known that Howitt had reserve stores at Burke's depot on Cooper Creek he would have made for it. He decided to go to the south and on 21 May arrived at the Messrs Williams' station (Coongoola homestead 50km south of Wyandra) about 800 miles north of Melbourne. Obtaining provisions the party set out for the Darling River some 200 miles distant, arriving at Bunnawannah Station on the Darling near Fort Bourke on 2 June. From there they went to Menindee and thence to Melbourne. On 30 September 1862 a public meeting was held in Melbourne in honour of Landsborough and McKinley.
In the following November, Landsborough was presented with a service of plate valued at £500, and subsequently visited India and Europe. The Royal Geographical Society presented him with a gold watch for finding a practicable route from the north to the south of Australia.
Landsborough returned to Australia and in 1865 became a member of the Queensland legislative council for one session. Towards the end of that year he was appointed police magistrate for the district of Burke. Finding Burketown extremely unhealthy, he made Sweers Island his headquarters and from there did much local exploring. In June 1872, he was made inspector of brands for the Moreton district and held this position for the remainder of his life.
A few years before his death the Queensland parliament voted Landsborough £2000 for his services as an explorer, and with this he purchased a pastoral property at Caloundra which he named Loch Lamerough. He died and was buried there in 1886. In 1913, his widow had him reburied at Toowong Cemetery.
Numerous places were named after William Landsborough, including:
- County of Landsborough, New South Wales
- County of Landsborough, Queensland in Shire of Cloncurry
- Town of Landsborough in Sunshine Coast Region
- Parish of Landsborough in Flinders Shire
as well as a number of creeks and mountains.
A number of heritage-listed sites are associated with William Landsborough's explorations, including:
- Burketown, Queensland: Landsborough Tree
- Mitchell Highway, Charleville, Queensland: Landsborough's Blazed Tree, Camp 67
- 29 km south of Charleville off the Mitchell Highway near Bakers Bend: Landsborough's Blazed Tree, Camp 69
- Landsborough, William (1825 - 1886) Australian Dictionary of Biography
- Landsborough William Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search
- "Landsborough (county)". Place name details. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- "Landborough (town)". Place name details. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- "Landsborough (parish)". Place name details. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- "Landsborough Tree (entry 15149)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
- "Landsborough's Blazed Tree, Camp 67 (entry 30561)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- "Landsborough's Blazed Tree, Camp 69 (entry 30560)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- Serle, Percival (1949). "Landsborough, William". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
- Landsborough, William (1862). Journal of Landsborough's expedition from Carpentaria, in search of Burke & Wills : with a map showing his route. Melbourne: Bailliere.
- Landsborough, William; Laurie, James Stuart (1866). Landsborough's Exploration of Australia from Carpentaria to Melbourne, with especial reference to the settlement of available country. London: Thomas Murby. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- Works by William Landsborough at Project Gutenberg
- William Landsborough's grave, Toowong, Queensland, 1935 National Library of Australia
- Burial stone for William Landsborough, Caloundra Bonzle.com - Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia
- Boase, George Clement (1892). "Landsborough, William". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Mennell, Philip (1892). " Landsborough, William". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource