Our woman in Australia

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Clem Fisher giving a speech in Australia

When Dr Clem Fisher, curator of birds and mammals at World Museum Liverpool, first told me that she was going to be a key speaker at an international conference in Australia I assumed that she would be staying in a nice hotel during her travels. However, the Ludwig Leichhardt Rally is not your average conference. It commemorates and recreates the German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt’s pioneering expedition across the uncharted Australian outback in 1844-45. Since Wednesday the delegates have been travelling part of the expedition trail and camping en route.

Today Clem has reported that the rally is going well so far, although she is missing her bed. She has already given two lectures, including one today in the open air in front of what she describes as the gorgeous scenery around the Burdekin River. In an unsceduheld addition to the conference programme earlier this week a tribute was held to the late Steve Irwin, who was a friend to several people on the rally.

In case you were wondering, I don't have any photos from this year's expedition yet, so have used a picture of Clem speaking at the 2004 Ludwig Leichhardt Rally. Apparently normal attire for the rally is much less flamboyant and more suited to travelling through rough terrain. Clem was glammed up to officially unveil a monument to John Gilbert, a naturalist credited with discovering many Australian species, who was killed on Leichhardt's expedition. I hope to be able to show some more current photos once Clem is back in range.