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Original Plaque
Original Plaque

Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland / Sandra O'Keeffe

The cairn commemorates Ludwig Leichhardt who crossed the Roper River on his exploration from Brisbane to Port Essington in October 1845. The cairn was unveiled in 1945 the centenary year of the event. The original plaque on the cairn went missing and was replaced in 1996. 

Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt, a Prussian scientist, is remembered for his long journey in 1844-1845 from the Darling Downs to Port Essington, an early settlement in the far north of the Northern Territory. He proceeded up the Burdekin Valley, crossed the Dividing Range, and discovered the Lynd and Mitchell Rivers. After following the Mitchell, Leichhardt skirted the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The exhausted party lost much valuable equipment at the Roper River and finally arrived at Port Essington, in December, 1845. He made the return journey by sea.

At the request of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia the Northern Administration and military authorities erected a cairn of stone 12 ft high, 6 ft square at the base and 5 ft at the top to commemorate the centenary of Ludwig Leichhardt crossing the Roper River Northern Territory, at Leichhardt bar on October 24, 1845. The society will celebrate that event on October 24. Three thousand souvenir envelopes, will be issued at 4d. each, if addresses and postage are sent to the society in time, the hon. secretary in Queensland being Mr D. A. O'Brien, 217 North Quay, Brisbane. These envelopes will be dispatched to the Roper River, Northern Territory, Port Office and they will be posted there on October 24 at a function to be held at the unveiling. This will give them philatelic value. The cairn will be unveiled by the Administrator of the Northern Territory (Mr C. L. A. Abbott). The cairn is in the police station garden about 200 yards from the Leichhardt Bar crossing. The O/C, Constable J. J. Mannion, a member of the society, will represent the society at the unveiling, take photos and write an account for the society.
Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld), 6 September 1945.


Address:Roper Highway, Roper Bar, 0852
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -14.712571
Long: 134.509719
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:24-October-1845
Actual Event End Date:24-October-1845


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 24th October, 1945
Front Inscription

Replacement Plaque:
     On His Epic Journey From 
      Brisbane To Port Essington 
Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt
Crossed The Roper River At This Bar
On 24 October 1845.  An Exchange Of Goodwill
    With The Aboriginal Tribal Owners
     Occured Prior To The Crossing.  
Among Leichhardt`s Party Were Two 
   Aboriginal Guides From NSW 
Charles Fisher And Harry Brown.

This Plaque Was Unveiled In 1996 In Place Of The
Missing Original Which Was Unveiled On
24 October 1945 On The Cairn Constructed By
      The NT Military Force

Original Plaque: 

Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt
           1813 - 1848 ?
Naturalist And Explorer
On His Epoch Making Exploration 
Brisbane To Port Essington
Crossed The Roper River At This Bar 
24th October 1845. The River Was Discovered
By John Roper On The 17th And Named On The 19th 
Unveiled On The 24th October 1945

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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