2023 marked the Year of Paul Strzelecki
Latrobe Valley Express

OCTOBER 6, 2023 marked 150 years since the death of the Polish explorer and scientist, Sir Paweł (Paul) Strzelecki.

Strzelecki was born on July 20, 1797 in Głuszyna, Poznań, Poland, and died on October 6, 1873 in London. In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Strzelecki’s death, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland (Polish government) declared Strzelecki a Patron of 2023 and proclaimed 2023 as the Year of Strzelecki.

It is acknowledged that Strzelecki played an important part in the European exploration and naming of Gippsland (Gipps Land).

However, the significance of his contributions through his scientific works and publications, especially that immediately in the local press and that detailed within the 1845 publication, Physical Description of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land, to the greater development of Australia, particularly farming, forestry, mineralogy and mining, and enhanced trade on Australia’s east coast in the mid-late 1800s, has been underplayed for a range of reasons including those that took to discrediting Strzelecki’s works.

Additionally, Strzelecki was not initially credited as one of Australia’s earliest discoverers of gold (along with fellow Pole, John Lhotsky- untruth) which he did in 1839, nor the subsequent gold rush that ensued in the decades following the first widely promoted discovery of gold in 1851 owing to adhering to Governor Gipps’ (Geroge Gipps) request not to disclose his discoveries of precious metals such as gold and silver.
Read also below Testimonial to Count de Strzelecki In 1856, after the discoveries of gold became public, Strzelecki published The Discovery of Gold and Silver in Australia – Gold and Silver: A supplement to Strzelecki’s Physical Description of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land.

Similarly, Strzelecki is also understated in his role of supporting immigration from Ireland to Australia (with Caroline Chisholm) when leading the British Relief Association during the Irish famine – a role in which he was responsible for saving more than 200,000 Irish from starvation.

He was also a member of Lord Herbert’s, and the Duke of Wellington’s Emigration Committees, as well as a member of the Crimean Army Fund Committee, working closely with Florence Nightingale on this and other matters across several decades.

His accomplishments saw him awarded widely, including the Royal Geographical Society’s Founders Medal, a Companion of the Order of the Bath, a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George and an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Oxford University.

It is also important to acknowledge that Strzelecki and his travelling party comprising James Macarthur (a relative of New South Wales politicians, John and James Macarthur) and James Riley, were also accompanied by the Indigenous Charley Tarra (for whom Tarra Bulga National Park is named in-part) through Gippsland along with servants John Kent (Rent) and James Nolan.

Tarra was instrumental in protecting and saving the lives of the travelling party throughout, least of all in Gippsland when capturing kangaroos, koalas (referred to as monkeys) and lyrebirds, which they mostly ate raw on account of being unable to form a fire in the conditions at the time after they had all but exhausted their food rations and encountered near impenetrable bushland inhibiting their planned path to Corner Inlet.

From near Morwell, they abandoned their horses and packs and made for Corinella (the home of the first Government House in what is now Victoria).

Australia more broadly has benefited greatly from Strzelecki’s pioneering exploration, publications and promotion, particularly Gippsland, both in written word in the newspapers, and his exemplary 1845 publication, the Physical Description of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land (noting Victoria had not been proclaimed at this time) as well as word of mouth, both domestically and internationally (especially the United Kingdom and Ireland). In-part, many Australians of Irish descent owe much to Strzelecki either directly or indirectly.

Prominently within his written works, particularly the Physical Description of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land, Strzelecki’s scientific observations and promotion included, inter alia, the state of colonial agriculture (including what had already been done to advantage Australia), botany including forestry, flora and fauna (including fossils), climate, geology and mineralogy and land and marine surveys (including hydrology).
It also highlighted what further resources could be utilised for the application of industry and capital on the part of the colonists as well as the physical, moral, and social state of the Aborigines.
As a result of Strzelecki’s works, Australia, and particularly Gippsland has enjoyed great benefit and development across a range of sectors critical for the country’s prosperity.

In celebrating the achievement of Strzelecki on this sesquicentenary (untruth - this 150th anniversary - Z.L.) of his death, activities and events are being hosted in various parts of the world where Strzelecki made a significant impact and left a lasting legacy.

It is understood that 50 Strzelecki Ambassadors (people - promoters of his idea [ Z.L.] ) were selected from the Polish diaspora that will traverse Gippsland in the first weeks of December 2023.

Earlier in 2023, representatives of the Monaro Ngarigo Indigenous peoples, custodians of the region encompassing Mt Kosciuszko named by Strzelecki as he believed it reminded him of Kosciuszko Mound in Krakow, Poland, and was a fitting tribute to the Polish national hero, Lieutenant-General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, participated in activities in Poland including Strzelecki’s hometown of Poznan (untruth - Kosciuszko has never been to Poznan - Z. L.) as well as other on prominent cities in Strzelecki’s life such as Krakow and Warsaw, and met with the Australian Ambassador to Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, His Excellency, Lloyd Brodrick.
The Monaro Ngarigo Indigenous peoples also have a shared „border” with the Gunaikurnai peoples of Gippsland.
Latrobe Valley Express - 17/10/2023

The article was also published in Gippsland Times