Strzelecki life's chronology

Sir Paul Edmund Strzelecki.

His life's chronology.

1797 - July 20th

  • Paul (Paweł) is born in Gluszyna (formerly part of South Prussia, today part Poznan is a city in Greater Poland), the youngest child of the family. His sister Isabella was eight years older, and his brother Peter (Piotr) was four years older.


  • Paul's father dies, and the family leaves Gluszyna.


  • After the death of his mother, his aunt takes Paul to Warsaw. Paul enters the Pijars' College for noblemen.


  • He goes to Cracow. Nothing is known of his life until 1817, when his brother Peter (Piotr) finds him and makes him reunite with the family at their sister's estate in Skubarczewo.
    Under pressure from his brother-in-law, Strzelecki (probably from 1817) served in the Prussian army in the 6th Regiment of Thuringischen Uhlans, at the time known as the „Polish Regiment”, because many Polish officers served in its staff.
    But he soon absconds from the service.


  • Paul (probably) stays at Wieckowice as a tutor to young Vincent Turno. He falls in love with his pupil's younger sister, Adyna (born 1805).


  • Adina's father rejects Paul's proposal to Adina. The young couple unsuccessfully try to elope, and they are forced to split.
    Paul goes abroad, and he (probably) travels around Europe. He develops an interest in science, agriculture and meteorology, particularly volcanoes.


  • While in Rome, he befriends the old Count Francis Sapieha.


  • Paul is offered a position as manager / administrator / of the Count's Sapieha estates and he goes to Lithuania.


  • Count Sapieha dies leaving Paul E. Strzelecki a substantial legacy. His son paid to Strzelecki 12,000 ducats.
    Ducat weighed 0,127 oz including 0,123 oz of pure gold i.e. about £ 6,000 for one ducat.
    It is believed that Paul then travels to Russia, France and Africa.


  • He arrives in England, travels extensively through the country, visits Scotland. He studies agriculture and farming methods.

1834 - June 8 —

  • Paul leaves Liverpool on board a ship „Virginian” bound for New York.
    He travels around North America. Being especially interested in the culture and life of Indian tribes, he spends some time living with them and doing ethnographic research.
    On his visits to Canada and Mexico, he explores the geological features and agriculture of the regions.


  • Journey to South America. He spent the next two years researching the geology and meteorology of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. On board English ships he sails along the West Coast of both Americas.

1838 - July 20 —

  • Embared to sail boat „ Fly ” in the port of Valparaiso, Chile and sailed to the Marquesas Islands and Hawaii. In Hawaii, he climbs the volcano Kilauea and makes extensive notes on the rituals and customs of the indigenous population.
    From November to January 1839, he stayed several months on Tahiti as a guest of Queen Pomare IV. He performs the duties of a juror during the first English-style trial on the Island.

1839 - January - April —

  • Strzelecki visits New Zealand - in January the town of Kororareka (now Russell). Then conducted thefirst ever geological surveyof the Island.

April 25 —

  • On board the French naval barque „Justine” it arrives at Port Jackson in Sydney.
    His name is listed passenger as Monsieur le Comte Traliski. Has a letter of introduction from Pastor George Pritchard, the British consul in Taiti, to a Pastor in Sydney.

June 7 —

  • At a dinner party held by the Governor, George Gipps, Strzelecki meets Lady Jane Franklin and receives an invitation to Tasmania.

August —

  • Strzelecki sets off on his first 3-month expedition (the West Expedition) to the Blue Mountains, and Grose River, accompanied by two ex-convicts. One of them, „Keena” (John Kent, James Folan) will stay in his service until Strzelecki's departure from Australia.

October —

  • Strzelecki was the  first to discover gold  and silver veins near Bathurst (at the Vale of Clwydd) .
    According to his diary entries, there is not enough „time and people to trace them to the right sources”.

November 28 —

  • On his return to Sydney Strzelecki reports to Governor Gipps and is asked not to reveal the gold discovery.
    Strzelecki lives in the Australian Club (former Poultney Hotel) at the corner of Bent and O'Connell Streets. He becomes an honorary member of the Club. He meets and befriends James McArthur from Parramatta. He also meets Caroline Chisholm.

December 20 —

  • He meets an Australian geologist Rev. W. B. Clarke, at a party held by the captain of an American marine expedition on Antarctic waters. Strzelecki toasts Polish and Anglo-Saxon credits in fights for freedom (he most probably mentions the name of Thaddeus Kosciuszko).

December 22 —

  • Accompanied by and with the help of James McArthur, Strzelecki begins preparations for the second research expedition to the Yass Upland.
    In to rest after a gruelling first expedition, he stays guest until Christmas at John McArthur's family farm in Camden.


  • Second expedition - (the Southern Expedition) March 12th Strzelecki names Mount Kosciuszko Paul Edmund Strzelecki leading his expedition through the Gunai country, climbs and names the discovered mountain - Mount Kosciuszko, it is the highest mountain in continental Australia. Afterwards, returns to Welaregang.
    Leading an expedition through the then-unknown area on the other side of the Dividing Ranges, he calls it Gippsland.
    The expedition meets the indigenous inhabitants of Gippsland.

May 19 —

  • Arrives at Melbourne. Strzelecki is meeting Henry Gisborn (Commissioner of Crown Lands), both in sequence 41 days together are writing the report and they are drawing up maps of the experienced expedition which is sent to Governor Gipps, to be published in England.

Juny —

  • She leaves Melbourne for Port Phillip Bay, from where she departs three days later on the brig „Emma” to Geelong Harbor and from there to Port Fairy in Portland Bay.
    „Emma” arrived in Launceston Tasmania on July 7.
    The Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania, Sir John Franklin, was extremely helpful in his research. Franklin eagerly provided Strzelecki with all available resources, including a small single-masted sailing ship.

July 24 —

  • Strzelecki undertakes the third expedition (the Tasmanian Expedition) and sails through the Bass Strait to Launceston, Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land) as a crew member of HMS Beagle - Adm John Lort Stokes.
    In Launceston, in the house of Dr. William Pugh, he opens his laboratory. He concentrates on meteorological measurements.
    During three separate organized expeditions, he walked approximately 1,864 miles (3,000 km) deep into Tasmania.
    Meanwhile, in Sydney, „The Colonist” publishes a stinging article about Strzelecki's discoveries, in defense of McMillan's rights to the title of discoverer of Gippsland.

1841 - August 19 —

  • The Sydney Morning Herald publishes a fragment of Strzelecki’s diary from his journey on geology & minerals.

August 26 —

  • Strzelecki’s report for His Excellence Sir George Gipps is published in „Parliamentary Papers” in Sydney.
    He writes:

    bad consequences
    would accrue to the colony from the doing away with vegetation, by overstocking the pasturage, or by burning it, - a practice which, far from improving the grass, as some have imagined, only subtracts from the soil the most essential conductor of moisture, or medium of condensing it in the form of dew or shower.”.

December 28 —

  • Strzelecki survives a thunderstorm on the slopes of Ben Lomond (Northern Tasmania) discovers the coal deposits there, and documents much of the state’s geology.
    He become a friend of Governor Sir John Franklin and Lady Jane Franklin. They make plans for irrigation of the agricultural areas (drought destroyed the low land of Tasmania in 1841).

1842 - January 13 —

  • Strzelecki climbs the highest peak of Flinders Island (Adm John Lort Stokes later names it Strzelecki's Peaks).
    Together with Franklin, they establish the Tasmanian Society of Natural Sciences and the magazine Tasmanian Journal.

October 2 —

  • Strzelecki boarded the steamer „Sea Horse” and sailed from Tasmania, arriving in Sydney in October.

October - December —

  • He organizes the fourth expedition (the Northern Expedition) Australian expedition to Liverpool Plains - around Tahlee in Port Stephens near Newcastle, he reached the northern border of the Queensland colony.

1843 - April 22 —

  • With Sydney en route to Europe on the sailing vessel „Anna Robertson” Strzelecki ship he sailed through the Arafura Sea, visiting western New Guinea, Timor, Sumba, Sumbawa, Lombok, Bali, Java, Borneo, and Manila, before the end of July reaching Canton and Hong Kong.

August 11 —

  • Strzelecki left China on board the paddle steamer „Akbar”, visited Penang, Singapore, and arrived in Suez on September 17.
    He departed from Alexandria on board another steamer, the „Oriental”, sailing to Marseille via Malta and Alger.

October —

  • From Paris Strzelecki reached to London.

November —

  • Francis Corbould brings him £400, £100 of which was contributed by Sir John Franklin in lieu of a farewell gift from the Tasmanians.
    The money will be used to partially cover the cost of publishing the book:Physical Description of new South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.
    Download  and reading this book (in pdf butt file - 22,7 MB - 574 pages).
    This is the first book about Australia so carefully and scientifically prepared, containing materials describing the discoveries and exploration of the areas he traveled through.
    If you have not installed Adobe Acrobat yet - you can use this link  downloaded free.


  • Paul Edmund Strzelecki completes his geological analysis of the Australian samples, thanks to the Laboratory of Environmental Geology in London.

July —

  • The Franklins return to London. Strzelecki helps Sir John to prepare a brochure on Tasmanian problems.

1845 - May 19 —

  • Sir Franklin sails away on his last Arctic expedition. He receives Strzelecki's book on Australia, fresh from the press, as a travel reading.
    Strzelecki sends a copy also to the Raczynski's Library in Poznan.

June 5 —

  • From the author's letter accompanying the eight copies of Strzelecki's book sent to Captain Phillip Parker King:

    My chief object in it, was to encourage emigration of capital and men to the two Colonies, and attract the attention of the Government to the important part which this offshoot will play in the welfare and economy of the British Empire”.

November —

  • Strzelecki becomes a British citizen.

1846 - May 25 —

  • The Royal Geographical Society awards Strzelecki a Gold Founder's Medal…
    „for exploration in the south eastern portion of Australia”
    and displays his huge geological map of NSW and Tasmania for public viewing.
    At Sir Sidney Herbert's, Strzelecki meets Florence Nightingale.

1847 - January —

  • He goes to Ireland in the capacity of an agent in North of Mayo, Belmullet and the Barony of Erris of the British Association for the Relief of Distress in Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland (known as the British Relief Association - BRA ).

April —

  • He gets sick with typhoid fever.

July —

  • Delegated to Dublin as a Commissioner, he begins organizing bakeries, introducing new edible alternatives to potatoes (like turnips, or a popular Polish food, rye bread), and feeding children in schools.

1848 - November 21 —

  • For his services during the famine in Ireland, Strzelecki is decorated with The Most Honorable Order of the Bath, as one of its very first non-military recipients.

1849 - 16 May —

  • Strzelecki offered to Sir Henry de la Beche eight boxes of Australian fossils and minerals plus two maps to the Museum of Economic Geology in London.n.

December —

  • Caroline Chisholm initiates the Family Colonization Loan Society, with Strzelecki as a Committee Member.


  • Strzelecki becomes a member of the Royal Geographical Society.
    In Australia, a controversy around the discovery of gold flares up. Gold-digger E. Hargraves wrongly is awarded £ 10.000 for his discovery of gold in Yorkers Corner/Ophir.
    During the Crimean War (1853-1856) Strzelecki is active in the Crimean Army Fund Committee (together with Florence Nightingale).


  • Strzelecki publishes in London brochure entitled „Gold and Silver” as a supplement to his book „Physical Description of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land”.
    After the publication of this supplement, his scientific priority was acknowledged in the discovery of gold in Australia and made it a priority scientific discovery.
    In the introduction to the brochure, he writes:

    My object in publishing this Supplement is less to claim honour or credit as a discoverer of gold in Australia, than to protect myself against the imputation of negligence or incapacity as a geological and mineralogical surveyor.

November 1 —

  • He is present in Constantinople (officially renamed Istanbul ) at the ceremony to decorate the Turkish Sultan Order of the Garter.
  • Strzelecki goes to Paris and then to Crimea in Admiral Edmund Lord Lyons' entourage.
    (From Sir William Fraser’s book: „Hic and Ubique” ):

    I knew Count Strzelecki well: he was an intimate friend of Lord Palmerston; and was supposed to be employed by him in more or less secret investigations.
    (He was a clever, agreeable, and very talkative man.
    ” )
    Read more… _click this link_

1857 - July —

  • F. McClintock organizes a rescue expedition in search of Sir Franklin and his people. Strzelecki collected £ 3.000 as a contribution towards the cost of the expedition.


  • McClintock confirms the death of John Franklin.
    A Canadian bay is named Strzelecki Harbour - located near Cape Dalgety and Cape Brodie.

1860 - June 20 —

  • The University of Oxford awards Strzelecki the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law.


  • After the death of his friend, Sir Sidney Herbert, Strzelecki helps Florence Nightingale to campaign for his Memorial.

1866 - September —

  • Strzelecki meets Adyna in Geneva, Switzerland.

1869 - June 30 —

  • Queen Victoria gives Strzelecki the title of Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael & St George, for his :

    five years' explorations in Australia, the discovery of gold, the discovery of new territory accessible to colonization, and finally for the construction of topographical and geological maps, based on astronomical observations”.


  • Strzelecki spends the winter 1872 / 73 in the south of Europe. His liver illness is incurable.

  • October 6
    Strzelecki dies in London - he is burieds at Kensal Green cemetery.

Read on the below

A monument of Paul E. Strzelecki at Lake Jindabyne Foreshore, Kosciuszko Road - Banjo Paterson Park, erected on November 14 1988 in celebration of two centuries of Australia as a gift from the Polish government and the Polish community in Australia.
(Click on „_highlighted_” text below)

Monument Strzelecki monument _unveiled_ cos2 by Sir James Rowland — the Marshal of the Australian Aviation and Governor of New South Wales on behalf of Australian authorities, and Tadeusz W. Młyńczak - the President of the Polonia Association on behalf of the Polish authorities.Look below

On the right On below - a bronze sculpture on a face stonework plinth, was designed and made in Poland
- by a sculptor Jerzy Sobociński from Poznan.Also, look and read below.
Also, read the facts from the history of the construction of the monument in Jindabyne.

Paul E. Strzelecki monument