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Biographical entry Becker, Ludwig (1808 - 1861)

5 September 1808
Darmstadt, Germany
29 April 1861
Queensland, Australia
Artist and Naturalist


Ludwig Becker wrote widely on scientific subjects and illustrated various works by Mueller, McCoy and others. In 1860 he became artist, naturalist and geographer to the Burke and Wills expedition.


Born Darmstadt, Germany, 5 September 1808. Died Bulloo, near Cooper's Creek, 28 April 1861. Lithographic work, Frankfurt from 1828; apparently qualified as a doctor of philosophy; served for a time as an officer in a rifle company; Rio de Janeiro 1848-50; arrived Launceston 10 March 1851; painted miniatures 1851-52; gold digging in Bendigo 1852-54; meteorological observations and sketches 1852-54; illustrated works by Ferdinand von Mueller and Frederick McCoy (qq.v.); artist, naturalist and geologist on the Victorian Exploring Expedition, led by Robert Burke and William Wills (qq.v.) 1860-61. Designed the prize medal for the Victorian Exhibition of 1854.

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Ludwig Becker - Records, 1850 - 1855, ML MSS 999; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Ludwig Becker - Records, 1860, MS 1236; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection

  • Ludwig Becker - Records, 1860 - 1861; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Becker, Ludwig; edited by Darragh, Thomas A, and Koehler, Manfred, Ludwig Becker: a letter from Australia, Garravembi Press, Bacchus Marsh (Vic.), 1993, 78 pp. Details
  • Edmond, Martin, The Supply Party: Ludwig Becker on the Burke and Wills Expedition, East Street Publications, Adelaide, 2009, 209 pp. Details
  • Maiden, J.H., Records of Victorian Botanists, Victorian Naturalist, vol. 25, Melbourne, 1908, 101-117 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Tipping, Marjorie J., 'Becker, Ludwig (1808?-1861), artist, explorer and naturalist', in Douglas Pike (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 3, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1969, pp. 127-128. Also available at Details

Conference Papers

  • Darragh, Thomas A., 'Ludwig Becker as a Geologist', in D. F. Branagan and G. H. McNally (eds), Useful and Curious Geological Enquiries Beyond the World: Pacific-Asia Historical Themes: The 19th International INHIGEO Symposium, Sydney, Australia, 4-8 July, 1994, International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences, Sydney, 1994, pp. 192-199. Details

Journal Articles

  • Becker, Ludwig, 'Native Zinc Embedded in Basalt', Transactions of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria, vol. 1, Philosophical Institute of Victoria, Melbourne, 1857, pp. 156-158. Details
  • Darragh, Thomas A., 'Ludwig Becker, a Scientific Dilettante: His Correspondence with J.J. Kaup and Others'', Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 11, no. 4, 1997, pp. 501-522. Also available at Details
  • Dixson, W., 'Notes on Australian Artists', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 9, 1923. Details
  • Kean, John and Carland, Rebecca, 'Natural Observations: the Artists of Frederick McCoy's Zoology of Victoria', Victorian Naturalist, vol. 122, 2005, pp. 366-75. Details
  • McLaren, I. F., 'The Victorian Exploring Expedition and Relieving Expeditions', Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. 29, 1959. Details

Online Resources

See also

McCarthy, G.J.