Our aim in sponsoring this project is to make young Australians more aware of the past history of our Nation. Particularly we want to promote awareness of Paul Edmund Strzelecki’s role in the history of Australia.
This project is important to the Australian Polish community, as we are proud of the contribution our predecessors have made to this country. We believe that this competition will promote a deeper understanding of the concept of Australia’s multicultural heritage.
On this website you will find extracts from books devoted to Strzelecki as well as his original writings; these materials are not readily available in most libraries, some took a long time to track down. Digging through history can sometimes feel like detective work, uncovering new facts, events and opinions which shaped the world over hundreds of years ago. This very much is the case when it comes to the little publicly known figure of Paul Edmund Strzelecki.
_Click and read_ our relation from giving the NHC Award Ceremony 2005.
Below is a brief description of the character…
Traveller and researcher, with an impossible to pronounce surname he was known simply as The Count. Indeed, Paul Edmund Strzelecki was a Polish nobleman. He had one goal, which became his life mission – to leave traces in the course of the world history. He strongly believed in the power of the human mind and the technical advancement of civilisation, he advocated the need for rational exploitation of the earth by humans, he believed in social justice and also in equal rights for all people, including Indians, Aborigines and Polynesians. He especially drew attention to the improper and destructive treatment of the black indigenous people in Australia. He spoke his mind and he gained as many friends as he did enemies.
History has not been kind to Strzelecki. Someone else was given the reward for discovering gold in Australia in 1851, despite the protests of Strzelecki’s friends. They argued that Strzelecki’s discovery in 1840 was kept secret at the request of Governor Gipps, who feared that the news of a gold discovery would be likely to bring about anarchy.
A mountain Strzelecki called Adine has different name today. There also have been attempts to take away from him, the honour of climbing, and naming the highest peak of Australian Alps, Mount Kosciuszko. This peak was named by Strzelecki in honour of the Polish and international hero, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, and was a symbolic gesture to honour the virtues of freedom and equality of people. Now there are moves on foot to change the names of Mount Kosciuszko and the Kosciuszko National Park.
Is it worth demanding Strzelecki’s well deserved place in people’s memory as well as in encyclopaedias? Surely, it is. Strzelecki was one of the most brilliant men of the 19th century, a precursor of modern ideas, who should be remembered by both champions of environmental protection, and the advocates of progress of civilisation.
You can read more _messages_ about P. E. Strzelecki.