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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Strzelecki, Sir Paul Edmund de

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Strzelecki, Sir Paul Edmund de, K.C.M.G., C.B., D.C.L., F.R.S. (better known as Count de Strzelecki), the well-known scientist and explorer, was a native of Poland, and travelled abroad in order to escape the Russian yoke. On his way from China he called in at Sydney, where he was introduced to the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir George Gipps, who persuaded him to undertake the exploration of the interior of Australia. He devoted years of research and a large sum of money to the scientific examination of the geology, mineralogy, flora and fauna of the great Darling range. In the course of an expedition, undertaken in 1840, he explored Gippsland in Victoria, previously discovered by McMillan, and after great hardships penetrated through the bush to Melbourne. He gave its name to Gippsland. He discovered gold-bearing quartz in the year 1839 in the district of Wellington, 200 miles west of Sydney. The Count subsequently published "A Physical Description of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land," but without mentioning his actual discovery of gold in the Bathurst district, which he had promised the Governor, Sir George Gipps, not to divulge for fear of rousing the cupidity of the prisoners and labourers. He returned to Europe in 1846, and on his arrival in England was welcomed by the Colonial Secretary. He was selected as one of the commissioners for the distribution of the Irish famine relief fund in 1847-8, and assisted in promoting the emigration of many impoverished families to Australia. In consideration of his Irish services he was created C.B. in 1849, and was made K.C.M.G. in 1869. In June 1853 he was elected F.R.S., and was given the D.C.L. of the university of Oxford. He died in Savile Row, London, on Oct. 6th 1877.