A Short History of Australia

Foreword to Strzelecki's ascent
of Mount Kosciusko - 1840

druk
by Lech Paszkowski

In August, 1965, the 11 th International Congress of the History of Sciences was held at Warsaw and Krakow, and about 700 scientists a atllered there from all over the world including 80 Americans.

Sir Paul Strzelecki probably never dreamd that such a body would ney him a tribute, 92 years after his death, when Mr. W. Slabczynski.was invated to deliver the adress in English, entitled „Paul Strzelecki and his contribution to the opening Up of Australia”.
     This address was published in English, in the Actes du XI Congres International d'Historie des Sciences (Papers of the 11 th International Congress of the History of Sciences, Warsaw 1968, vol. IV, pp.248-251), but it is practically unknown to Australian readers.

liscThus I think, it should he proper to qurte here,a few thoughts of thre speaker, who is the author of tile most reliable biography of Sir Paul, published in Warsaw in 1957, and not equalied by any writer:

„Much had been written alredy on Strzelecki. During the last decade less than an six books on him have been published, in English and Polish - not counting numerous articles and essays …
It is my bold opinion that the six books just mentioned are the best proof that Strzelecki's work has left us something vital, everlasting… ”.

Mr. Slabczynski also said that first of all Strzelecki's achievements in Australia was „investigation and mapping of the highest and the most suportant part of the Great Dividing Range” - adding in conclusion, that the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric scheme „is nothing alse than the fulfilment of his dreams for Australia”, which Strzelecki expressed in the early 1840's, in one sentence: „Irrygatien then becomes the first measure with the agricurtural improvments of Australia must begin”.

liscThe climbing and naming of Mount Kosciuszko was only an incident in Strzelecki's exploration of the Great Dividing Range. I belive that Sir Stephen Henry Roberts, in his „History of Australian Land Settlement” (Melbourne 1924, p. 345; 2ed, 1968,p. 386) was the first to indicate the value of Strzelecki's plan for irrigation in New South Wales.

Lionel Wigmore in his book „Strugle for the Snowy” (Melbourne,1968 p.47) also metioned Strzelecki's board view of the future reading irrygation and conservation of water in this country.
We should remember as well, that alredy in the early 1840's Strzelecki fortold a very bright future for the Australian wool industry.

During the last twenty years collected, and I am still collecting, the biographical material about Sir Paul Strzelecki. My interest in him stemmed from my study of the history of Polish travellers and settlers in Australia.
I have also gathered a mumber of articles and other items refering to the controversy whether Strzelecki climbed Mount Kosciuszko or Mount Townsend. I had always hoped that one day a man with an intimate knownledge of the local topography would examine the existing evidence and will give an answer to this question.

lisci thing that we are very fortunate that Lieutenant Colonel H.P.G. Clews undertok this rather difficult task. I have read his thoroughjy scientific and cool examination of the James Macarthur's testimony not only with deep interast but also with admiration for the autor's skillful approach to his subject.

I have little to add to this valuable paper by Lt. Colonel Clews, but pehaps it should be streesed, that Strzelecki came to Australia, in 1839, as an experienced explorer, who spent five years of his live on travels from the wilderens of Canada to the deserts of Utah; from the mines of California, Mexico and Brasil to the vulcanoes of Hawai, and in the Chilean Andes climbed the peaks of 15,000 feet. He was familiar with almost all climatic condictions.

However, it is not my intention to write here biographical sketh of Sir Paul Stzrelecki. It is refershing to read this excellent article by Lieutenant Collonel Clews based on a scientific reserach, especially, in times when manyprinted pages are fill with misleading and irresponsible statements.

Lech Paszkowski - Melbourne , March 1970.

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