Australia – the elusive continent that evaded discovery by Europeans until just 400 years ago. Inhabited by Australia’s Aborigines for between 40 to 60 thousand years, they enjoyed the sanctuary of this vast land until the late 18th century. There had been speculation that there may be a great land in the southern hemisphere as early as 150 AD by the brilliant Claudius Ptolemy; evidence suggests that sailors from China, India, Arabia, Malaya and Pacific Islands traded with Australia’s northern Aboriginal people around 1,000 years ago – but, it was not until the early 17th century that parts of the western, northern and southern coastlines found their way onto the maps of the World. The Dutch were the first, naming the western reaches of Australia ‘New Holland’. Willem Janszoon mapped part of the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1606 – Dirk Hartog followed in 1616 – and Abel Tasman in 1642 and 1644. British explorer, Captain Cook mapped some of the east coast and proclaimed the colony of New South Wales in 1770. The First Fleet arrived soon after – and within a few decades the ancient Australian landscape was forever changed . . .
Discover the evolution of the colonies of New Holland from the time of Captain James Cook’s secret instruction to “take possession” “as first discoverers and possessors“, of the great southern continent in the name of the King of Britain; to the current day, exhibiting the states and territories of Australia . . .
Discover some of the very first exploration expeditions that revealed the great continent of Australia. The search for fresh water. The treacherous deserts, the impenetrable mountains and morass, the crystal clear rivers full of lobster and divine fish species, the Aborigines whose curiosity sometimes showed kindness and then other times, fear, as their world so suddenly changed . . .
This timeline provides an insight into some of the very first explorers and pioneers who sailed uncharted seas and traversed unknown lands – travelling insurmountable distances – not knowing what lay ahead . . . They literally paved the passage for settlers to infiltrate this great southern continent – risking their lives, their families, their savings, their livelihood . . . From thence it examines the first governors whose names are remembered in so many of Australia’s place names – and the struggle to impose British claims, ideology, governance, constabulary . . .
Learn of the bravery of the Explorers, the First Fleet, and the many ships that transported convicts, settlers, governance, constabulary and supplies across the World at the mercy of wind, sail and sea – the challenges they faced as they built up their water highways and docking stations that would be become Australia’s first transport system. Just as people conquered the challenges – the arrival of war would enable Governments to requisition their ships, crews, and . . .