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Paul Edmund de Strzelecki - Prominent Polish Explorer of the Down Under

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Pawel Edmund Strzelecki (aka Paul Edmund de Strzelecki) (1797 – 1873) was a Polish geologist and explorer. He was born in Gluszyna (a part of today's Poznan). In 1831 he left for England to escape from the Russia ruled Poland. He is most famous for his discoveries in Australia where he arrived after travelling to New York, Cuba, Tahiti, North and South America, the South Sea Islands, etc. Upon Strzelecki's arrival in Sydney, being forty-two years old, the Governor of New South Wales commissioned him to make a mineralogical and geological syrvey of the eastern Victoria region.

One of his discoveries was gold, the first discovery of this kind in Australia, but he had to keep it secret. It was just a beginning of his scientific endeavours. Explorations of the Australian Snowy Mountains (with the highest peak climb named by him ''Mount Kosciuszko''), other parts of Australia, Tasmania, China, Egypt, the East Indies made him famous. Coming back to London, he became a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and was awarded a gold medal as an appraisal for his Australian discoveries.

Strzelecki was also a renowned philanthropist who helped the Irish families faving the 1846 Irish famine. In recognition of his works and services, Strzelecki was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Oxford and the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Moreover, he became Knight Companion of the Bath. A lot of geographical sites in Australia have been named after Strzelecki, e.g. Strzelecki Creek, Strzelecki Peak, Strzelecki Desert, Strzelecki Highway. Strzelecki died in London in 1873.

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