Early on the morning of Ludwig Leichhardt's birthday, on Wednesday 23 October 2013, more than 120 delegates, visitors, guests and locals assembled in the Mehrzweckhalle of the Ludwig-Leichhardt-Oberschule (middle school) in Goyatz for the special 200th anniversary conference.

The school's Principal, Mr Dieter Klaue, and Ms Annett Joppich, Head of School, Culture and Social Issues, Amt (Office of) Lieberose/Oberspreewald, had coordinated a huge effort with superb technical facilities, decorations and catering to ensure the success of the conference. Amt Director Bernd Boschan opened proceedings with a warm welcome to all present. For him, and for his teams of passionate Leichhardt enthusiasts, it would be a day to celebrate, and recapitulate and reflect on an amazing year-long program of events throughout the region. (A reminder that you can read the full summary, and see pictures and slideshows, on our German sister website's Veranstaltungen 2013 page here ~ and you can download a PDF of today's conference program here.)

In the Oberspreewald it was a fine autumn morning at 9:15am; in Brisbane it was 6:15pm at the close of the first day of the University of Queensland Leichhardt Symposium. The audiences on both continents ~ including a very special guest in Germany among the dignitaries ~ were enthralled to participate in a live web-link with key UQ symposium organisers and their guests and visitors from Germany. 

Those in Brisbane reported they had toasted the exact time of the great explorer's birth that special day, since 3:00am in Germany was 11:00am in Brisbane ~ which meant, in Aussie terms, that the bar was well and truly open! ~ and this news was received with great acclaim in Goyatz.

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Above: Ludwig Leichhardt joined the other VIPs on stage as host Bernd Boschan (standing) led the international conversation. Onscreen in Brisbane were Prof.Dr Peer Schenk and Rowan Eisner (UQ), 
Dr Barbara Baehr and Dr John Hooper (Queensland Museum), with Prof.Dr Gert Wöhrheide (Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich) and Dr Matthias Glaubrecht (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) among the visitors. Click on the image to see a larger version. (Foto: MT)
Above: joining in the live link were the dignitaries at the head table in Goyatz, including (L) Prof.Dr Peter Danckert, former Member for Electorate 63 (Dahme-Spreewald – Teltow-Fläming III – Oberspreewald-Lausitz I), justly renowned as one of the most passionate supporters of all the 2013 Leichhardt projects, and (R) Mr Burkhard Jungkamp, State Secretary, Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport of the State of Brandenburg, greatly impressed by the events at home and Down Under. (Foto: MT)

Australia's Ambassador to Germany, Peter Tesch, then delivered the first Festrede (commemorative speech), reflecting on some of the key roles our diplomatic representatives had played in facilitating programs, events and exchanges between both Germany and Australia, and between Brandenburg and Queensland, during the Bicentenary year.

He was followed by Dr Peter Danckert, one of the principal supporters of Leichhardt activities, who had recently vacated his seat in the German parliament. In his Festrede, Dr Danckert delivered a special message on behalf of Federal President Joachim Gauck. These greetings were echoed by the warm words of Mr Burkhard Jungkamp, State Secretary, Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport of the State of Brandenburg.

IMG 4814 PO 23.10 Goyatz BB hosting 290W   IMG 4793 PO 23.10 Goyatz PT-speaking 290W
Above: Bernd Boschan was an engaging host and facilitator, and the success of both the conference and the whole 2013 program was clearly due in no small way to his charm, warmth and passionate dedication to the memory of, and ongoing interest
in, Leichhardt in his home communities.
(Foto: MT)
  Above: Australian Ambassador Peter Tesch spoke also of how Leichhardt's passions for science, education and discovery had contemporary resonances in the 21st century for German-Australian relations. The omnipresent Leichhardt Dahlia can be seen on the lower left of the picture. (Foto: MT)
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