Backward Glance: William Landsborough
  • Wednesday 16 September 2015
William Landsborough

Later, at the request of his widow, he was reinterred at Toowong Cemetery where public subscriptions saw a large headstone and recognition of his work as the first explorer to cross the Australian continent from north to south.

Landsborough was born in 1825 at Stevenston, Ayrshire in Scotland.

In 1841, he migrated to New South Wales where his elder brothers held two stations in the New England region.

He leased a property near his brothers but was off to the goldfields not long after. He had some success with his gold seeking ventures but exploration was his passion.

In 1859, he was with the party who looked for traces of missing explorer Ludwig Leichhardt.

Two years later, Landsborough was chosen by the government to lead a search for explorers Burke and Wills from the Gulf of Carpentaria southwards.

On May 21 of that year he learned that Burke and Wills had perished.

He continued south and delivered horses and gear to the authorities in Melbourne in October and reported on the good land he had seen which led to a frenzied rush for land in the Gulf country. He was cited as the first explorer to cross the Australian continent from north to south.

Landsborough married his first wife, Caroline Hollingsworth Raine, on December 30, 1862. Tragically Caroline, once back in Queensland, died of tuberculosis leaving him to look after a young family.

Early in 1873, after a hasty courtship, Landsborough married his second wife, the recently widowed Maria Therese Carter.  A talented musician, Maria filled the home with the best musicians in Brisbane.

After the wedding, the bridal couple left on horseback to spend their honeymoon at Bankfoot House nestled amongst the majestic Glass House Mountains. Landsborough was devoted to Maria and called her Duchy, short for Duchess.

On September 27, 1882 the government rewarded him for his services to exploration.  He used the money to select Portion 27 at Caloundra, 2372 acres on Pumicestone Passage. The property was known as Loch Lamerough.

Maria was not fond of the selection by the sea. There were only two houses in Caloundra before their arrival, so there was very little company and no social life or musical friends. Social life comprised of visiting the Bulcock family of Caloundra and riding to Bankfoot House   to visit the Grigors.

After William’s death, Maria returned to their home, known as 'Curraghbawn', at Toowong.

Maria is buried near her husband at Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.

Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.