Thursday, June 29, 2006


In about 200AD a famous Greek astronomer named Claudius Ptolemy believed that the earth had to be balanced or it would topple over. So he figured that there had be a land yet unknown to Europeans somewhere below the Indian Ocean. Over time this yet to be discovered land came to be known as For many centuries people in Europe were certain that there was a land down under (this map from 1570 shows what they thought) but nobody knew how to get to it . They kept missing it or not realising that they had stumbled upon it. For over 200 years hundreds of European navigators set across the seas searching for the Unknown Southern Land.
They expected to find gold and other treasures.
Aborigines were the first people to discover Australia. They may have walked or sailed here from Asia over 60,000 years age. They arrived at a time when the northern parts of Australia had a hot humid tropical climate much like that of Asia today.
Portuguese sailors may have sailed along the coastline of Australia as far back as 1542. Some maps have been found which show parts of what appears to be the Australian coastline. But there is no definite proof that they did.
In 1616 a Dutch trading ship, the Eendracht, on its way to the Indies (now called Indonesia) bumped into west coast of of Australia. Captain Dirk Hartog landed at Shark Bay, looked around a bit but didn't find anything interesting. He nailed a pewter dish to a tree to record his visit. He did not realize that he had found Australia. His is the first recorded European landing in Australia.
Dutch sailors continued see the coastline on their trips and called this land New Holland but didn't bother to visit it
In 1642 a Dutchman named Abel Tasman sighted an island he called Van Diemen's Land. He did not realise that this island was a part of Australia. He also went on to explore New Zealand.
This island was later renamed Tasmania in honour of Abel Tasman
In 1770 an expedition from England lead by Captain James Cook sailed to the south pacific. They were supposed to make astronomical observations. But Captain Cook also had secret orders from the British Admiralty to find the southern continent.
They sailed in the Endeavour. It had a crew of 94 men.
They landed in a bay on the east coast on the 29th of April 1770. Cook first called this place Stingray Bay, then he changed it to Botanist Bay and finally called it Botany Bay because of all the strange and unusual plants there.
He called this new land New Wales and then changed it to New South Wales. He claimed the land for England (even though the land already belonged to the Aborigines).
Captain Cook was also the first European to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Actually he ran into it and damaged his ship pretty badly. He had to spend seven weeks repairing his ship.


Blogger I_luv_ollies_mum said...

aboriginees did NOT discover auss it was the macassasans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i luv ollies mum

August 23, 2007 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I agree that it was the aborigines that discovered the place. They were the first here. Macassans and then the Chinese then followed but a long time later and only in the last three hundred years did the Europeans come into the picture
Peter Walsh

June 10, 2008 at 5:35 PM  

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