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The Other Polish Explorer

5 March 2015

You can have scripts in development, in the production pipeline for months, years, and suddenly they both go to air within weeks of each other. After The History of the Single Girl at the end of February, now comes The Other Polish Explorer. Originally a Hindsight commission, this 50-minute feature gets its first broadcast with Earshot on Tuesday 10 March at 11:00 am. Repeated on Saturday 14 March at 8:00 pm (I think) and definitely downloadable. Click here to go to the Earshot web page.

Sturt, Leichardt, Eyre, Strezelecki—we know them. They live in our place names, in plant names, in our history texts. Less well-known is the name of Johann or John Lhotsky, a maverick from central Europe engaged in much the same nineteenth century enterprise of exploring and collecting. Yet although he published political pamphlets, scientific papers, correspondence, the account of his Journey from Sydney to the Australian Alps, and much else, Johann Lhotsky remains an elusive and little-known figure.

Lhotsky Brazilian specimen-Solanum capoerum Dunal

 Solanum capoerum Dunal collected by Lhotsky in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, September 1831.

My first encounter with Lhotsky took place in a secondhand bookshop in Katoomba. The author of that particular volume covered his exploits in less than half a page—but I was hooked.

The Other Polish Explorer tells the fascinating story of this botanist, geologist, social commentator, radical and linguist extraordinaire.

Lhotskya from German journal, 1863

Lhotskya hirta Rgl. (images 1-4) in Gartenflora, 1863.

The Other Polish Explorer
Writer & Narrator: Noëlle Janaczewska
Produced by Michelle Rayner
Sound engineer: Judy Rapley (& Stephen Tilley)
With Lech Mackiewicz (Lhotsky) and Nicholas Bell, Humphrey Bower, Nicholas Coghlan, Meredith Penman, David Tredinnick.

From → Radio

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