Early Explorations of Australia - Index
These articles cover this age of discovery and some settlement, far far away from Europe.
Early French Explorers of Australia
In the 18th. century, there are exotic French names such as Nicolas Baudin, Jean-Francois de Galaup Compte de La Perouse, Antoine Raymond Joseph de Brimi D'Entrecasteaux, and Louis Bougainville, names that one would expect to find gracing elegant Parisian salons, rather than exploring the distant shores of Australia, and the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean. But no, these early French explorers and their small ships were out pushing back the frontiers of exploration, seeking out new territory to chart and claim for France, to expand her colonial empire.
A newly established web site at the National Maritime Museum allows one to explore this wonderful collection. On long term loan to the Museum from Lisette Flinders Petrie are:- " The Flinders Papers ( 1774-1814 )" covering 150 documents which include personal letters, many to his wife Ann, letters to and from Sir Joseph Banks, maps, charts etc.
The first Europeans to visit Australia were not the English navigators but came from Holland. During the 15th. and 16th. centuries it was the Spanish, Portuguese and the Dutch seamen that pushed back the exploration frontiers. My country might well speak Dutch rather than English, it took the British explorer Captain James Cook until 1770 to discover and claim for England the east coast of Australia.
The Loss of Trial in 1622, Oldest Wreck on the Australian Coast
The English East India Company in 1621, dispatched their ship Trial on a journey to the East Indies via the Cape of Good Hope. It had only been 10 years earlier that this supposedly faster route to the East Indies had been pioneered by the Dutch. It was not until 1969 that an attempt was made to find the wreck site of this first British shipwreck on the Australian coast.
Captain James Cook's Endeavour Journal 1768-71
Between the 27th. of May 1768 and the 12th. of July 1771, Captain James Cook circumnavigated New Zealand and charted the east coast of Australia. In his journal, Cook records landing at and naming Botany Bay and Endeavour River, the claiming of the east coast of Australia for England, and his encounters with the Aboriginal people.
The discovery of this large bay on the southern coast of Australia is largely tied up with a small brig Lady Nelson. When fully loaded, her freeboard was just under three feet. Lieutenant James Grant in 1799, had been commissioned by the then First Lord of the Admiralty The Duke of Portland, to survey the south and south west coast of Australia. He was given Lady Nelson with a crew of twelve and stored for a nine months voyage.