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William Landsborough

1825 - 1886

Explorer. Born in Stevenston (North Ayrshire), the son of clergyman and naturalist Rev. David Landsborough (1779 - 1854), he was educated at Irvine Royal Academy. In 1841, he followed his two older brothers, John and James, to New South Wales (Australia), where he bought a sheep station with funds he had earned from gold mining. By 1853, his brothers had moved to Queensland, and again he followed, supporting them in establishing a sheep-station while exploring the rivers and outback of Queensland and the Northern Territory in less busy time. He gained a reputation as an expert bushman. In 1860, Landsborough bought a share of large areas of land at Bowen Downs and created a cattle and sheep station. The following year, he was asked to lead one of the search parties looking for two other explorers, Robert O'Hara Burke and William Wills, who had crossed the continent from south to north, but gone missing on the return journey. Landsborough was able to determine their fate; they had died in the outback of South Australia. He returned to Britain 1863-64 during which time he was recognised by the Royal Geographical Society for his exploration and he gave a lecture to a packed audience in the Free Church in Saltcoats. On returning to Australia, he lost his property following years of drought but he became a member of the Legislative Council for Queensland, was appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands, and a Police Magistrate. In 1882, his work as an explorer was recognised by the Queensland government and he used the gift of £2000 to buy property on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, which he named Loch Lamerough. He died there and was buried there, although his corpse was later moved to Brisbane. He wrote a book about his exploration of the Gulf of Carpentaria, while his journals are held by the State Library of Queensland. Numerous places in Australia are named in his honour, including counties in New South Wales and Queensland, a town on the Sunshine Coast and in Victoria, the Landsborough Highway and the Landsborough Inlet in Queensland.

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