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A Voyage to Terra Australis by Matthew Flinders

Part 2 out of 9

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June 21. The Hormuzeer's long boat was sent ahead; and, at ten o'clock,
the ships bore away northward. At noon, the latitude was 9 deg. 30'. The
course was altered, at three, to the north-west; and at dusk, they hove
to, for the night: soundings from 70 to 56 fathoms. The same course being
resumed on the 22nd, the latitude, at noon, was 8 deg. 48'; and the depth 30
fathoms, on a bottom of sand, mud, and shells. From noon to five p.m.,
when they anchored, the ships appear to have steered W. by S. The land
had been seen at one o'clock; and at two, the water had shoaled suddenly,
from 30 to 10 fathoms, and afterwards diminished to 5, which continued to
the place of anchorage. The land was part of the coast of NEW GUINEA; and
the extremes were set at W. by N. 1/2 N. and N. W. 1/2 N., six or seven
leagues, (in the chart, miles.) The flood tide here, set two miles per
hour, towards the land; and the rise, by the lead line, was nine feet.

June 23. The ships got under way with the weather, or ebb, tide, a little
before noon: latitude 8 deg. 52'. At four o'clock, the wind blew strong at
south-east, with thick weather, and they anchored in 9 fathoms, blue mud;
having made a course of E. N. E. nearly parallel to the coast. They
remained here till the next afternoon; when the Hormuzeer having parted
her cable, both ships stood to the north-eastward, along the land, until
midnight; at which time they wore to the south-west, in 30 fathoms. At
daylight of the 25th, the depth had decreased to 16 fathoms; and they
stretched north-eastward again, with little variation in the soundings.
The latitude, at noon, was 8 deg. 10'; and the ships continued their course
upon a wind, keeping as much to the east as possible; and the soundings
having increased to 30 fathoms, at dusk, they hove to; but stretched off,
at midnight, on coming into 10 fathoms. In the morning of June 26, they
were standing to the eastward; but the wind becoming light at nine
o'clock, Mr. Bampton anchored in 9 fathoms, on a muddy bottom, in
latitude 7 deg. 55' south. The coast of New Guinea was then seen to extend
from N. N. W. 1/2 W. to E. N. E.; and the south end of a reef, running off
from the western extreme, bore W. by S. 1/2 S., two leagues.

The land here forms a large, unsheltered bay; and an opening nearly at
the head, bearing N. 1/2 E., appeared like the entrance of a considerable
river; but an officer, who was sent in a boat to sound, saw breakers
stretching across. The soundings were regular, from 9 to 6 fathoms,
within a mile or two of the shore; when there was only twelve feet; and
the surf which rolled in, made it impossible to land. The country round
the bay is described as level and open, and of an agreeable aspect.

On the return of the boat the ships weighed, and stretched southward
until June 27, at noon. The latitude was then 9 deg. 1'; and a sand bank was
seen from the mast head, bearing S. W. 1/2 W. They then wore to the
north-eastward; and continued upon that course until the 28th, at dusk;
when the land of New Guinea being in sight as far as E. by N., the same,
apparently, which had been set from the anchorage on the 26th, they
stretched off till two in the morning and then in again, towards the

Captain Bampton had followed the coast of New Guinea thus far, in the
hope of finding a passage to the northward, between it and Louisiade; but
the trending of the land so far to the east, and the difficulty of
weathering it, from the current being adverse, obliged him to give up
that hope. A consultation was then held; and a determination made to
attempt the passage through the middle of Torres' Strait.

At the time the ships hauled their wind to the southward, the latitude
was 8 deg. 3'; the longitude, from three distances of the sun and moon, 145 deg.
23'; and the depth of water 40 fathoms, on a muddy bottom. They had no
soundings from that time to July 1, at one a.m.; when there was 35
fathoms. At daylight, land, which was the _Darnley's Island_ of captain
Bligh, bore S. W. by S. seven or eight leagues; a dry sand was seen in
the W. N. W., (probably W. S. W.); and a reef, which appears to have been
that of Anchor Key, was six or seven miles distant in the S. E. At four
in the afternoon, when Darnley's Island bore W. by N. 1/2 N. five leagues,
and Murray's Island S. E. 1/2 E. (probably S. S. E. 1/2 E.) the ships
anchored in 22 fathoms, marly bottom; and the boats were sent towards the
first Island to sound, and see if it were inhabited. The latitude
observed at this anchorage, was 9 deg. 40' south, and longitude from three
distances of the sun and moon 142 deg. 58' 30" east.

July 2. The boats returned. Between the ships and the island, they had
passed over five different reefs, separated by narrow channels of 11 to
14 fathoms deep. The natives of the island came down in considerable
numbers; and exchanged some bows and arrows, for knives and other
articles. They were stout men; and somewhat above the common size of
Europeans. Except in colour, which was not of so deep a cast, they bore
much resemblance to the natives of Port Jackson; and had scars raised
upon their bodies in the same manner. The men were entirely naked; but
the women, who kept at a distance and appeared small in size, wore an
apron of leaves, reaching down, to the knee. Many cocoa-nut trees were
seen in the lower parts of the island.

When the boats returned, they were followed by four canoes. One of them
went along-side of the Chesterfield; and an Indian ventured on board, on
a sailor going into the canoe, as a hostage for him. Most of these people
had their ears perforated. The hair was generally cut short; but some few
had it flowing loose. It is naturally black; but from being rubbed with
something, it had a reddish, or burnt appearance. These Indians, so far
as they could he understood, represented their island to abound in
refreshments; and it was, therefore, determined to send another boat to
make further examination.

July 3. Mr. Shaw, chief mate of the Chesterfield, Mr. Carter, and captain
Hill of the New-South-Wales corps, who was a passenger, went away armed,
with five seamen in a whale boat; and were expected to return on the
following day; but the 4th, 5th, and 6th, passed, without any tidings of
them; although many signal guns had been fired.

On the 7th, two boats, manned and armed, under the command of Mr. Dell,
chief mate of the Hormuzeer, were sent in search of the whale boat. On
reaching the island, Mr. Dell heard conch shells sounding in different
parts; and saw eighty or ninety armed natives upon the shore. To the
inquiries, by signs, after the missing boat, they answered that she was
gone to the westward; but none of them would venture near; nor did they
pay attention to a white handkerchief which was held up, and had before
been considered a signal of peace.

As the boats proceeded in their search, round the island, the natives
followed along the shore, with increasing numbers. One man, who was
rubbed with something blue, and appeared to be a chief, had a small axe
in his hand; which was known, from the red helve, to have belonged to Mr.
Shaw. On reaching the bay in the north-west side of the island, Mr. Dell
remarked that the natives disappeared; all except about thirty, who were
very anxious in persuading him to land. They brought down women; and made
signs, that the boat and people whom he sought, were a little way up in
the island. He, however, rowed onward; when the beach was immediately
crowded with people, who had been lying in ambush, expecting him to land.

After having gone entirely round the island, and seen nothing of the
object of his research, Mr. Dell returned to the first cove; where a
great concourse of natives, armed with bows, arrows, clubs, and lances,
were assembled at the outskirt of the wood. By offering knives and other
things, a few were induced to approach the boat; and the coxswain seized
one of them by the hair and neck, with the intention of his being taken
off to the ships, to give an account of the missing boat and people. A
shower of arrows instantly came out of the wood; and a firing was
commenced, which killed one Indian, and wounded some others. In the mean
time, the coxswain found it impossible to keep the man, from his hair and
body being greased; and the boat's crew was too much occupied to assist

July 8. The two commanders having heard the report of Mr. Dell, proceeded
with the ships, round the northern reefs and sand banks, to the bay on
the north-west side of Darnley's Island, which was named _Treacherous
Bay_. On the 9th, in the afternoon, they anchored with springs on the
cables, in 13 fathoms, sand, mud, and shells; the extremes of the island
bearing E. 1/2 N. to S. W. by S., and the nearest part distant a quarter of
a mile. A boat was sent on shore; and returned, at sunset, with a few
cocoa nuts; but without having seen any of the inhabitants.

July 10. An armed party of forty-four men landed from the ships, under
the command of Mr. Dell. After hoisting the union jack, and taking
possession of this, and the neighbouring islands and coast of New Guinea,
in the name of His Majesty, they examined the huts, and found the great
coats of captain Hill, Mr. Carter, and Mr. Shaw; with several other
things which had belonged to them, and to the boats' crew; so that no
doubt was entertained of their having been murdered. In the evening, the
party arrived from making the tour of the island; having burnt and
destroyed one-hundred-and-thirty-five huts; sixteen canoes, measuring
from fifty to seventy feet in length; and various plantations of sugar
cane. The natives appeared to have retired to the hills in the centre of
the island; as not one of them could be discovered.

Darnley's Island was judged to be about fifteen miles in circumference.
It is variegated with hills and plains; and the richness of the
vegetation bespoke it to be very fertile; it appeared, however, to be
scantily supplied with fresh water, there being only one small place
where it was found near the shore. The plantations of the natives, which
were extensive and numerous in the plains, contained yams, sweet
potatoes, plantains, and sugar canes, inclosed within neat fences of
bamboo; and cocoa-nut trees were very abundant particularly near the
habitations. The hills, which mostly occupy the middle of the island,
were covered with trees and bushes of a luxuriant growth; and upon
different parts of the shores, the mangrove was produced in great plenty.

The habitations of the Indians were generally placed at the heads of the
small coves; and formed into villages of ten or twelve huts each,
inclosed within a bamboo fence of, at least, twelve feet high. The hut
much resembles a haycock, with a pole driven through it; and may contain
a family of six or eight people. The covering is of long grass, and cocoa
leaves. The entrance is small; and so low, that the inhabitants must
creep in and out; but the inside was was clean and neat; and the pole
that supports the roof, was painted red, apparently with ochre.

In each of the huts, and usually on the right hand side going in, were
suspended two or three human skulls; and several strings of hands, five
or six on a string. These were hung round a wooden image, rudely carved
into the representation of a man, or of some bird; and painted and
decorated in a curious manner: the feathers of the Emu or Cassuary
generally formed one of the ornaments. In one hut, containing much the
greater number of skulls, a kind of gum was found burning before one of
these images. This hut was adjoining to another, of a different form, and
much more capacious than any of the others. The length was thirty feet,
by fifteen in breadth; and the floor was raised six feet from the ground.
The hut was very neatly built of bamboo, supported by long stakes, and
thatched with cocoa leaves and dried grass. It was judged to be the
residence of the chief of the island; and was the sole hut in which there
were no skulls or hands; but the adjoining one had more than a double

The corpse of a man, who had been shot, was found disposed of in the
following manner. Six stakes were driven into the ground; about three
feet from each other, and six feet high. A platform of twigs was worked
upon them, at the height of five feet; and upon this, the body was laid,
without covering; but the putrid state of the corpse, did not allow of a
close inspection.

Upon the reefs which surround the island, square places, of about fifty
feet every way, were formed, by piling up stones of two or three feet
high. The tide flows over these; and, on the ebb, the Indians go down and
take out the fish. On all parts of the reefs, there were bamboos set up,
with pendants of dried leaves; but whether they were intended as beacons
for the canoes, or to point out the boundaries of each fishery, could not
be ascertained.

The description of the canoes is nearly the same as that given in the
voyage of Bligh and Portlock; but Mr. Bampton says, "some of them were
ingeniously carved and painted, and had curious figures at each end." The
weapons of these people are bows, arrows, clubs of about four feet long,
and spears and lances of various kinds, made of black., hard, wood. Some
of the lances were jagged, from the sharp point to a foot upward; and
most of them were neatly carved.

The sole quadrupeds seen, were rats, mice, and lizards; which, when the
huts were set on fire, ran from them in great numbers. Land birds were
numerous in all parts of the island; and upon the reefs were many
curlews, large yellow-spotted plover, king's fishers, sand pipers, red
bills, and gulls.

Captain Bampton lays down Darnley's Island, which the natives call
WAMVAX, in latitude 9 deg. 39' 30" south, and longitude 142 deg. 59' 15" east;
but in his chart, the centre is placed in 9 deg. 34' south., and 143 deg. 1'
east. He much regretted that he could not land again, to examine the
interior parts of this fine island; but his long boat having drifted out
of sight, without water, provisions, or compass, it was judged necessary
for the ships to weigh, and look after her.

July 11. The Hormuzeer stood to the northward, with soundings of 15 to 19
fathoms. After three hours run, with a fresh breeze, a reef and sand bank
were seen ahead, and the ship was veered to the south-west. Another reef
and bank were descried, soon afterward, in the west; and, at the same
time, a signal for seeing the long boat was made by the Chesterfield. In
the afternoon, the boat was picked up, and both ships anchored under
Stephens' Island.

An armed party was immediately sent on shore, to obtain intelligence if
possible, of the lost whale boat. The natives were assembled in hostile
array, upon the hills, sounding their conchs; but, after lancing a few
arrows, they fled. Several were wounded by the shots fired in return; but
they succeeded in escaping to a canoe at the back of the island, and
getting off; all except one boy, who was taken unhurt.* In the huts,
which were burnt, several things were found; and amongst them, a sheet of
copper which belonged to the Chesterfield.

[* It does not appear in the journal, when, or where this boy was set on
shore; nor is any further mention made of him.]

July 12. Stephens' Island was traversed all over; and a spike nail, with
the king's broad arrow upon it, was brought on board, and excited many
conjectures as to whence it came.* The plantations, huts, images, skulls,
and hands, were found similar to those of Darnley's Island. Amongst the
trees, there was one resembling an almond, the nuts of which were good.
The cocoa nut grows abundantly; especially in the south-eastern part,
where the trees formed a continued grove. The sole quadruped seen, except
rats, was a pretty animal of the opossum tribe. It was found in a cage;
and had probably been brought, either from New Guinea, or New South

[* It had probably been obtained from the crews of either the Providence
or Assistant; which had anchored under Stephens' Island, nine months

[** Mr. Bampton's description of this animal is briefly as follows. Size
and shape, of the opossum. Colour, yellowish white with brown spots. End
of the tail, deep red: prehensile. Eyes, reddish brown: red when
irritated. No visible ears. Used its paws in feeding: five nails to each.
Habit, dull and slothful: not savage. Food, maize, boiled rice, meat,
leaves, or any thing offered. Odour, very strong at times, and

July 13. A boat was sent to Campbell's Island; but it did not contain
either plantations, cocoa-nut trees, or fixed inhabitants. This, as also
Stephens' and Nepean's Islands, are mostly low and sandy; and surrounded
with extensive reefs, upon which, it was thought, the Indians pass from
one island to the other, at low water.

In the afternoon, the ships proceeded to the westward; but meeting with
many reefs, they hauled more to the north, and discovered _Bristow
Island_, lying close to the coast of New Guinea. Their attempts to find a
passage here, were fruitless; and after incurring much danger, and the
Chesterfield getting aground, they returned to their former anchorage, in
the evening of July 21. The banks, reefs, and lands, seen during these
eight days, will be found marked in Plate XIII.

Two canoes immediately came off from Stephens' Island; and one of the
natives remained on board the Hormuzeer till eight o'clock. He seemed to
be without fear; and when inquiry was made after the lost boat and
people, he pointed to a whale boat, and made signs that such an one had
been at Darnley's Island; and that six of the people were killed.* Many
presents were made to this man; and he was clothed, and sent on shore in
one of the boats.

[* Captain Hill and four of the seamen were murdered by the natives.
Messieurs Shaw and Carter were severely wounded; but with Ascott, the
remaining seaman, they got into the boat, cut the grapnel rope, and
escaped. They were without provisions or compass; and it being impossible
to reach the ships, which lay five leagues to windward, they bore away to
the west, through the Strait; in the hope of reaching Timor. On the tenth
day, they made land; which proved to be _Timor-laoet_. They there
obtained some relief to their great distress; and went on to an island
called by the natives, _Sarrett_; where Mr. Carter died: Messieurs Shaw
and Ascott sailed in a prow, for Banda, in the April following. See
Collins' _Account of the English Colony in New South Wales_. Vol. I. page
464, 465.]

July 22. The ships' crews beginning to feel the want of fresh water,
people were sent on shore to dig a well; and the natives, though they
still appeared shy and suspicious, gave them some assistance. On the
24th, the boats had discovered a passage to the south-westward; and as
the well produced little water, and no provision could be obtained, it
was determined to proceed onward, through the Strait, without further

They weighed the same afternoon; and anchored, at dusk, in 14 fathoms;
Campbell's Island bearing N. E. by E. to E. by N. 3/4 N.; and many other
small isles being in sight to the south-west and southward. Next day, the
25th, they steered S. by W. 1/2 W., from seven in the morning to six in the
evening; when they anchored in 17 fathoms, having islands in sight nearly
all round: the nearest at the distance of five or six miles. These
islands were small; but inhabitants were seen on the greater number; and
two canoes went off to the Chesterfield.

July 26. The ships proceeded westward, very slowly; the wind being at
south-west. In the morning of the 27th, they were at anchor in 11
fathoms; Dungeness Island bearing W. by N. to N. W. by W. 1/2 W., about six
miles; and Warriors Island N. N. W. 1/2 W. eight miles. Mr. Dell had passed
the preceding night upon one of the Six Sisters, which was called _Dove
Island_, bearing from the ship, S. S. E. six miles. A fire on the beach,
with two fish broiling upon it, bespoke the presence of inhabitants; but
on searching the island over, none could be discovered: it was thought
that they had fled to a larger island, it being connected with this by a
reef, which dries at low water. Mr. Dell had a seine with him, and caught
a dozen fine fish; but the object of remaining all night, that of taking
turtle, did not succeed; although large shells of them were found upon
the shore.

Dove Island is about one mile and a half in circumference; and covered
with trees and shrubs, the fragrance of whose flowers perfumed the air.
Amongst other birds, two beautiful doves were shot. The plumage of the
body was green; the head, bill, and legs, red; the tail, and under sides
of the wings, yellow. No huts, plantations, or other signs of fixed
inhabitants were seen; nor was there any fresh water.

On the return of the boat, the vessels weighed; and the wind being at W.
S. W., they worked through. between Dungeness and Warriors Islands, with
the flood tide. They then anchored in 11 fathoms; the first Island
bearing S. S. E. to S 1/2 W. three leagues, and the second E. by S. 1/2 S.

July 28. Having a fresh breeze at E. S. E., the long boat was sent ahead,
and the ships followed, to the westward. They passed Turtle-backed
Island, the Cap, and the Brothers, on one side, and Nichols' Key on the
other: the soundings gradually shoaling from 12 to 7 fathoms. Upon the
Cap, Mr. Bampton "saw a volcano burning with great violence," which
induced him to give it the name of _Fire Island_; not knowing that it had
before been named. At noon, the Brothers, with the Cap and Turtle-backed
Island behind, bore S. E. by S. to S. 1/2 E. four miles; and Mount
Cornwallis N. 16 deg. W.

The water continued to shoal; and at three p.m., the ships anchored in 5
fathoms, sand, shells, and stones; the Brothers bearing E. by S. 1/4 S.
five leagues, and Mount Cornwallis N. by E. 1/4 E. There were two large
islands in sight in the S. S. W. 1/4 W. to S. W. 1/4 S., at the distance of
eight or ten leagues; and many nearer reefs in the same direction.

July 29. The long boat was sent to sound in the north-west; and when the
ebb tide slacked, the ships followed: wind at E. S. E. The soundings
increased from 5 to 7 fathoms; and afterwards varied between these
depths, until noon; when the latitude observed was 9 deg. 42' south.* The
Brothers then bore S. 64 deg. E.; Mount Cornwallis N. 38 deg. E; and a long, low
island (Turn-again., of Bligh,) N. 35 deg. to 58 deg. W. At three p.m. the reefs
were so numerous, that the ships were obliged to anchor, until the boats
could sound for a passage: the depth here was 41/2 fathoms, on a bottom of
rotten stones and coral.

[* This latitude is from 4' to 6' more _south_ than captain Bligh's
positions; and the same difference occurs in all the observations, where
a comparison can be made.]

July 31. They weighed, and hauled the wind eastward, to pass round
Turn-again Island; bearing away occasionally to avoid small reefs: the
soundings 51/2 to 4 fathoms. After passing round, they anchored in 5
fathoms; until the boats should sound between the reefs which appeared on
every side: Turn-again Island then bore S. 56 deg. to 83 deg. W. about two
leagues, Mount Cornwallis N. 56 deg. E., the Brothers S. 50 deg. E.; the latitude
observed was 9 deg. 32', and longitude from four sights of the sun and moon,
140 deg. 58' east. Next afternoon, in proceeding to the north-westward, the
Chesterfield struck upon a bank in eight feet water; but the coral giving
way to the ship, she went over without injury. In the evening, they both
anchored in 41/2 fathoms, gravel and shells; Mount Cornwallis bearing E. 1/4
S., and a long tract of land from N. W. by N. to N. E., at the distance
of five or six leagues. Turn-again Island bore S. S. E. 3/4 E. to S. 1/2 W.,
four miles; and thither the ships ran on Aug. 3, and anchored in 33/4
fathoms, fine sand, within a quarter of a mile of the shore; the extremes
bearing S. 58 deg. E. to 60 deg. W. The purpose for which they came to this
island, was to procure wood, water, and refreshments; during the time
necessary for the boats to explore a passage through the innumerable
reefs and banks, which occupy this part of the Strait.

Messieurs Bampton and Alt remained here seventeen days; being afraid to
move with the strong south-east winds which blew during the greater part
of the time. Turn-again Island is flat, low, and swampy; and about three
miles in length, by half that space in breadth. (Mr. Bampton's chart
makes it the double of these dimensions; and, generally, the islands in
it exceed the description of the journal in about the same proportion:
the journal seems to be the preferable authority.) The reefs which
surround Turn-again Island, extend a great distance to the east and west;
particularly in the latter direction, where there are many dry sand
banks. The island is mostly over-run with mangroves; and at the top of
the flood, the wood cutters were obliged to work in the water; and were,
at all times, exceedingly annoyed with musketoes. The island is said, in
the journal, to be in 9 deg. 34; south and 140 deg. 55' east; which is 3' to the
south and 1 deg. 24' west of its situation in the chart of captain Bligh.

No other refreshment than small quantities of fish, crabs, and
shell-fish, being procurable here, the ships crews were further reduced
in their short allowance. With respect to fresh water, their situation
was still worse: None could be obtained upon Turn-again Island; and had
not captain Bampton ingeniously contrived a _still_, their state would
have been truly deplorable. He caused a cover, with a hole in the centre,
to be fitted by the carpenter upon a large cooking pot; and over the hole
he funded an inverted tea kettle, with the spout cut off. To the stump of
the spout, was fitted a part of the tube of a speaking trumpet; and this
was lengthened by a gun barrel, which passed through a cask of salt
water, serving as a cooler. From this machine, good fresh water, to the
amount of twenty-five to forty gallons per day, was procured; and
obtained a preference to that contained in the few casks remaining in the

By Aug. 20., when the weather had become more moderate, the boats had
sounded amongst the reefs in all directions; but there appeared to be no
practicable passage out of this labyrinth, except to the north-west. In
that direction the ships proceeded three hours, in from 6 to 3 fathoms.
Next afternoon, they steered westward, with the flood tide; and again
anchored in 3 fathoms, sand and gravel. The coast of New Guinea then
extended from N. by E. 1/4 E. to N. W. 3/4 N.; and the north-west end of a
long island, to which the name of _Talbot_ was given, bore N. by E. 1/2 E.
nine or ten miles.

Aug. 22, At day-light they followed the long boat to the westward., in
soundings from 21/2 to 4 fathoms. At seven o'clock, the Hormuzeer grounded
in 2 fathoms; upon a bank whence Talbot's Island bore N. N. E. to E. N.
E., eight or ten miles, and where the observed latitude was 9 deg. 27' south.
She remained upon this bank until the morning of the 24th; when Mr.
Bampton got into a channel of 13 fathoms, which had been found by the
boats, and the ship did not appear to have received other damage, than
the loss of the false keel. The _still_ continued to be kept at work, day
and night.

Aug. 27. Messieurs Bampton and Alt proceeded onward in a track which had
been sounded by the boats. At sunset, they came to, in 4 fathoms; the
extremes of New Guinea then bearing N. W. by W. to N. E. by E., three or
four leagues. Some further progress was made next morning; and at noon,
when at anchor in 33/4 fathoms, and in latitude 9 deg. 261/2', an island was
discovered bearing S. W. 3/4 S. five or six leagues; which received,
eventually, the name of DELIVERANCE ISLAND.

Aug. 29. The Hormuzeer grounded at low water; from which it appeared that
the tide had fallen twelve feet, though then at the neaps. When the ship
floated, they made sail to the westward; and deepened the water to 9 and
12 fathoms. At noon, it had again shoaled to 6; Deliverance Island
bearing S. S. W. 1/2 W. nine or ten miles, and New Guinea N. W. to N. by E.
1/2 E. four or five leagues: latitude observed 9 deg. 25' south. After
proceeding a little further westward, they anchored in 5 fathoms.

Aug. 30. The soundings varied as before, between 4 and 10 fathoms: the
bottom, rotten coral intermixed with sand. At noon, when the latitude was
9 deg. 21', Deliverance Island was just in sight from the deck, in the S. E.
by S.; and the extremes of New Guinea bore N. E. by E. to N. W. 1/2 W., ten
or twelve miles.* In the afternoon, the depth again decreased to 4
fathoms, and obliged them to anchor until morning. On the 31st, the ships
appear to have steered south-westward, leaving on the starbord hand a
very extensive bank, on which the long boat had 2 fathoms water: the
soundings from the Hormuzeer were from 3 to 7 fathoms. At noon, the
latitude was 9 deg. 27', and no land in sight. The soundings then increased
gradually; and at sunset, no bottom could be found at 40 fathoms. A swell
coming from S. S. W. announced an open sea in that direction; and that
the dangers of Torres' Strait were, at length, surmounted.

[* Mr. Bampton's chart and journal are more at variance here than in the
preceding parts of the Strait, and I have found it very difficult to
adjust them; but have attempted it in Plate XIII.]

This passage of the Hormuzeer and Chesterfield in _seventy-two_ days,
with that made in _nineteen_, by the captains Bligh and Portlock,
displayed the extraordinary dangers of the Strait; and appear to have
deterred all other commanders from following them, up to the time of the
Investigator. Their accounts confirm the truth of Torres having passed
through it, by showing the correctness of the sketch contained in his
letter to the King of Spain.


The sole remaining information, relative to the North Coast of Terra
Australis, was contained in a note, transcribed by Mr. Dalrymple, from a
work of burgomaster WITSEN upon the _Migration of Mankind_. The place of
which the burgomaster speaks, is evidently on the coast of Carpentaria,
near the head of the Gulph; but it is called _New Guinea; and he wrote in
1705_. The note is as follows; but upon whose authority it was given,
does not appear:

"In 16 deg. 10' south, longitude 159 deg. 17'" (east of Teneriffe, or between
142 deg. and 143 deg. east of Greenwich,) "the people swam on board of a Dutch
ship; and when they received a present of a piece of linen, they laid it
upon their head in token of gratitude: Every where thereabout, all the
people are malicious. They use arrows, and bows of such a length, that
one end rests on the ground when shooting. They have also _hazeygaeys_
and _kalawaeys_, and attacked the Dutch; but did not know the execution
of the guns." On summing up the whole of the knowledge which had been
acquired of the North Coast, it will appear, that natural history,
geography, and navigation had still much to learn of this part of the
world; and more particularly, that they required the accomplishment of
the following objects:

1st. _A general survey of TORRES' STRAIT_. The navigation from the
Pacific, or Great Ocean to all parts of India, and to the Cape of Good
Hope, would be greatly facilitated, if a passage through the Strait,
moderately free from danger, could be discovered; since _five or six
weeks_ of the usual route, by the north of New Guinea or the more eastern
islands, would thereby be saved. Notwithstanding the great obstacles
which navigators had encountered in some parts of the Strait, there was
still room to hope, that an examination of the whole, made with care and
perseverance, would bring such a passage to light. A survey of it was,
therefore, an object much to be desired; not only for the merchants and
seamen trading to these parts, but also from the benefits which would
certainly accrue therefrom to general navigation and geography.

2nd. _An examination of the shores of the GULPH OF CARPENTARIA_. The real
form of this gulph remained in as great doubt with geographers, as were
the manner how, and time when it acquired its name.* The east side of the
Gulph had been explored to the latitude of 17 deg., and many rivers were
there marked and named; but how far the representation given of it by the
Dutch was faithful--what were the productions, and what its
inhabitants--were, in a great measure, uncertain. Or rather it was
certain, that those early navigators did not possess the means of fixing
the positions and forms of lands, with any thing like the accuracy of
modern science; and that they could have known very little of the
productions, or inhabitants. Of the rest of the Gulph no one could say,
with any confidence, upon what authority its form had been given in the
charts; so that conjecture, being at liberty to appropriate the Gulph of
Carpentaria to itself, had made it the entrance to a vast arm of the sea,
dividing Terra Australis into two, or more, islands.

[* I am aware that the president de Brossed says, "This same year also
(1628) CARPENTARIA was thus named by P. Carpenter, who discovered it when
general in the service of the Dutch Company. He returned from India to
Europe, in the month of June 1628, with five ships richly laden." (_Hist.
des Nav. aux Terres Aust_. Tome I. 433). But the president here seems to
give either his own, or the Abbe' Prevost's conjectures, for matters of
fact. We have seen, that the coast called Carpentaria was discovered long
before 1628; and it is, besides, little probable, that Carpenter should
have been making discoveries with five ships richly laden and homeward
bound. This name of Carpentaria does not once appear in Tasman's
Instructions, dated in 1644; but is found in Thevenot's chart of 1663.]

3rd. _A more exact investigation of the bays, shoals, islands, and coasts
of ARNHEM'S, and the northern VAN DIEMEN'S, LANDS_. The information upon
these was attended with uncertainty; first, because the state of
navigation was very low at the time of their discovery; and second, from
want of the details and authorities upon which they had been laid down.
The old charts contained large islands lying off the coast, under the
names of _T' Hoog Landt_ or _Wessel's Eylandt_, and _Crocodils Eylanden_;
but of which little more was known than that, if they existed, they must
lie to the eastward of 135 deg. from Greenwich. Of the R. Spult, and other
large streams represented to intersect the coast, the existence even was
doubtful. That the coast was dangerous, and shores sandy, seemed to be
confirmed by Mr McCluer's chart; and that they were peopled by "divers
cruel, poor, and brutal nations," was certainly not improbable, but it
rested upon very suspicious authority. The Instructions to Tasman. said,
in 1644, "Nova Guinea has been found to be inhabited by cruel, wild,
savages; and as _it is uncertain what sort of people the inhabitants of
the South Lands are_, it may be presumed that they are also wild and
barbarous savages, rather than a civilized people." This uncertainty,
with respect to the natives of Arnhem's and the northern Van Diemen's
Lands, remained, in a great degree, at the end of the eighteenth century.

Thus, whatever could bear the name of _exact_, whether in natural
history, geography, or navigation, was yet to be learned of a country
possessing five hundred leagues of sea-coast; and placed in a climate and
neighbourhood, where the richest productions of both the vegetable and
mineral kingdoms were known to exist. A voyage which should have had no
other view, than the survey of Torres' Strait and the thorough
investigation of the North Coast of Terra Australis, could not have been
accused of wanting an object worthy of national consideration.




Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Hartog:
of the Ship Leeuwin:
the Vianen:
of Pelsert:
Conclusive Remarks.


Under the term WESTERN COASTS, is comprehended the space from the western
extremity of the northern _Van Diemen's Land_ to the _North-west Cape_ of
New Holland; and from thence, southward to _Cape Leeuwin_. The first is
usually termed the North-west, and the second the West Coast: Taken
together, they present an extent of shore of between seven and eight
hundred leagues in length; lying in the fine climates comprised between
the 11th and 35th degrees of south latitude.

HARTOG. 1616.

The recital of discoveries in Tasman's instructions speaks of the first
knowledge gained of these coasts in the following terms: "In the years
1616, 1618, 1619, and 1622, the west coast of this _Great unknown_ SOUTH
LAND, from 35 deg. to 22 deg. south latitude, was discovered by outward-bound
ships; and among them by the ship _Endragt_." The recital gives no
further particulars; but from thence, and from a manuscript chart by
_Eessel Gerrits_, 1627,* there seems to be sufficient authority for
attributing the first authenticated discovery of any part of the Western
Coasts to DIRK HARTOG, commander of the ship _Endragt_, outward-bound
from Holland to India. He appears to have first seen the West Coast in
latitude about 261/2 deg. south; and to have sailed northward along it, to
about 23 deg.; giving the name LANDT DE ENDRAGT, to the country so
discovered. An important part of his discovery was _Dirk Hartog's Road_
(at the entrance of a sound afterwards called _Shark's Bay_, by Dampier),
lying a little south Of 25 deg.. Upon one of the islands which form the road
there was found, first in 1697, and afterwards in 1801, a plate of tin,
bearing the following inscription.

[* See Dalrymple's _Collection concerning Papua_, note, page 6.]

"Anno 1616, the 25th of October arrived here the ship _Endragt_ of
Amsterdam; the first merchant _Gillis Miebais_ of Luik, _Dirk Hartog_ of
Amsterdam, captain. They sailed from hence for Bantam, the 27th Do." On
the lower part, as far as could be distinguished in 1697, was cut with a
knife, "The under merchant _Jan Stins_; chief mate _Pieter Dookus_ of
Bill. Ao. 1616."

The _Mauritius_, another outward-bound ship, appears to have made some
further discovery upon the West Coast, in July 1618, particularly Of
WILLEM'S RIVER, near the North-west Cape; but no further particulars are

EDEL. 1619.

In Campbell's edition of _Harris' Voyages_ (p. 325), it is said, "The
next year the LAND OF EDEL was found, and received its name from the
discoverer.". The president De Brosses says nearly the same thing (Tome
I. P. 432); whence, combining this with the Dutch recital and the chart
of Eessel Gerritz, it should appear that J. DE EDEL commanded an
outward-bound ship; and, in July 1619, accidentally fell in with that
part of the West Coast to which his name is applied. The extent of Edel's
discovery appears, from Thevenot's chart, to have been from about the
latitude 29 deg., northward to 261/2 deg., where the Land of Endragt commences; but
in a chart of this coast, by _Van Keulen_, the name is extended southward
to 32 deg. 20', past the island Rottenest, which, according to Thevenot,
should rather have been the discovery of the ship Leeuwin.

The great reef lying off the coast of Edel, called _Houtman's Abrolhos_,
was discovered at the same time; probably by Edel, or by some ship in the
same squadron.


I do not find it any where said who commanded the _Leeuwin_, or Lioness;
but it should appear, that this was also one of the outward-bound ships
which fell in with the West Coast. In Thevenot's chart, Leeuwin's Land
comprehends about ninety leagues of the south-west extremity of New
Holland; and, from the latitude of 35 deg., extends northward to about 31 deg.;
but in later publications, it has been much restricted in its northern
limit, apparently, upon the authority of Van Keulen.


The next discovery upon the Western Coasts was that of the ship _Vianen_,
one of the seven which returned to Europe under the command of the
governor-general Carpenter. The Dutch recital speaks of this discovery in
the following terms. The coast was seen "again accidentally in the year
1628, on the north side, in the latitude 21 deg. south, by the ship Vianen,
homeward bound from India; when they coasted two-hundred miles, without
gaining any knowledge of this Great Country; only observing a foul and
barren shore, green fields, and very wild, black, barbarous inhabitants."

This was the part called DE WITT'S LAND; but whether the name were
applied by the captain of the Vianen does not appear in the recital. De
Brosses says, "William de Witt gave his own name to the country which he
saw in 1628, to the north of Remessen's River; and which _Viane_, a Dutch
captain, had, to his misfortune, discovered in the month of January in
the same year; when he was driven upon this coast of De Witt, in 21 deg. of
latitude, and lost all his riches." The confusion that reigns in the
president's account does not render it improbable, that the country might
have received its _name_ in the way he describes, and in the year 1628;
for, in 1644, _De Witt's Land_ is used as a known term for this part of
the North-west Coast.

PELSERT. 1629.

Thus far, the parts of the Western Coasts have been distinguished by
little else than the dates and limits of their discovery; for, in fact,
this is all that has reached us from these early navigators. The
following account is of a different character: it is extracted from the
twenty-first piece in Thevenot's collection; and, in the table of
contents, is said to be translated from the Dutch.

The _Batavia_, commanded by FRANCISCO PELSERT, struck, in the night of
June 4, 1629, upon a reef, "called by our Flemings the _Abrolhos_ or
Rocks of _Frederick Houtman_," lying off the west coast of New Holland.
At daylight, an island was seen about three leagues distant, and two
islets, or rather rocks, somewhat nearer, to which the passengers and
part of the crew were sent. There being no fresh water to be found upon
these islands, Pelsert had a deck laid over one of the boats; and, on
June 8, put to sea, in order to make search upon the opposite main land:
his latitude, at noon, was 28 deg. 13' south.

A short time after quitting the Abrolhos, captain Pelsert got sight of
the coast, which, by estimation, bore N. by W. eight leagues from the
place of shipwreck.* He had 25 to 30 fathoms, and stood off till
midnight, when he again steered for the land; and in the morning of the
9th, it was four leagues off. He ran that day from five to seven leagues,
sometimes to the north, sometimes to the west; the direction of the coast
being N. by W.: it appeared to be rocky--without trees--and about the
same height as the coast of Dover. A small, sandy bay was seen, into
which Pelsert desired to enter; but finding too much surf, and the
weather becoming bad, he was obliged to haul further off.

[* Thevenot says _six miles_, and does not explain what kind of miles
they are; but it is most probable that he literally copies his original,
and that they are Dutch miles of fifteen to a degree. Van Keulen, in
speaking of Houtman's Abrolhos, says, page 19, "This shoal is, as we
believe, 11 or 12 leagues (_8 ae 9 mijlen)_ from the coast."]

July 10. He kept in the same parallel, upon a wind; the weather being
bad, and his boat very leaky. Next day, the wind was at W. S. W., and
more moderate. He then steered north; for the sea was too high to
approach the shore in safety. On the 12th, Pelsert observed the latitude
to be 27 deg., and steered along the coast with a fair wind at S. E.; but the
shore was too steep to admit of landing; neither could he find any bay or
island to break off the sea. At a distance, the land seemed fertile and
covered with plants. The latitude, on the 13th, was 25 deg. 40', which showed
a current setting to the northward. Here Pelsert found himself a-breast
of an opening, where the coast trends to the north-east (apparently into
Shark's Bay). The course this day was nearly north; the shore consisted
of reddish rock, of an equal height; and there being no island in front,
the waves, which broke high upon it, prevented landing.

June 14. The wind was at east; and at noon, the latitude was observed to
be 24 deg.. The tides (or rather the current) took the boat further to the
north than was desired; for Pelsert then carried but little sail, in the
hope to find a landing place without going further. Perceiving some
smokes at a distance, he rowed towards them; but the shore proved to be
steep, with many rocks, and the sea broke high against it. At length, six
of his people leaped overboard, and with much labour and risk got through
the surf, whilst the boat remained at anchor, in 25 fathoms. The sailors
employed the rest of the day in seeking for water; and on looking about
on every side, they saw four natives creeping towards them on their hands
and feet. One of "our people" having appeared on an eminence, near them,
the natives rose up and took to flight; so that those who were in the
boat could see them distinctly. These men were wild, black, and
altogether naked; not covering even those parts which almost all savages

The six sailors, losing all hope of finding water, swam back to the boat,
wounded and bruised by the blows they had received from the waves and
rocks. The anchor was then weighed, and Pelsert continued his course,
under easy sail, along the coast; but keeping without side of the shoals.
The 15th in the morning, they discovered a cape, off which lay a chain of
rocks, running out four miles into the sea; and behind this was another
reef, close to the shore. The water being tolerably still between them,
Pelsert thought to pass through; but the reefs joined round further on,
and obliged him to return. At noon, an opening was seen, where the water
was smooth, and they went into it, but with considerable danger; for the
depth was no more than two feet, and the bottom stony. On landing, the
people dug holes in the sand; but the water which oozed in was salt. At
length, fresh rain water was found in the cavities of the rocks, and
afforded them great relief; for they had, hitherto, been confined to a
pint of water each. They staid on shore that night, and collected full
forty gallons. Ashes and the remains of cray fish were found; which
showed that the natives had been there no long time before.

July 16. They sought to collect more water, but were unsuccessful; and
none could be expected in the sandy, level country behind the coast. This
plain was destitute of both grass and trees, and covered with ant hills
so large, that they might have been taken for the houses of Indians. The
quantity of flies was such, that the people had great difficulty in
keeping them off. Eight savages, with with each a stick (probably a
spear) in his hand, were seen at a distance. They came within musket
shot; but on the Dutch sailors going towards them they took to flight.

Captain Pelsert, being at length convinced of the impossibility of
procuring more water, determined to quit this coast. At noon, he got
withoutside of the reef by a second opening more to the north; for,
having observed the latitude to be 22 deg. 17', his intention was to seek for
the _River of Jacob Remessens_ (near the North-west Cape); but the wind
veering to north-east, he could no longer follow the direction of the
coast. Considering, then, that he was more than four hundred miles from
the place of shipwreck, and that scarcely water enough had been found for
themselves, Pelsert resolved to make the best of his way to Batavia, to
solicit assistance from the governor-general.

In the mean time, some one of the people left upon the islands of the
_Abrolhos_ thought of tasting the water in two holes, which, from its
rising and falling with the tide, was believed to be salt; but, to their
great surprise and joy, it was found good to drink, and never failed them

On Pelsert's return to the Abrolhos in the yacht _Sardam_, he was under
the necessity of executing some atrocious conspirators, and two were set
on shore upon the opposite main land.* Tasman was directed by his
instructions, in 1644, to "inquire at the continent thereabout, after two
Dutchmen; who, having forfeited their lives, were put on shore by the
commodore Francisco Pelsert, if still alive. In such case, you may make
your inquiries of them about the situation of those countries; and if
they entreat you to that purpose, give them passage hither."

[* For an account of the miseries and horrors which took place on the
islands of the Abrolhos during the absence of Pelsert, the English reader
is referred to Vol. I. p. 320 to 325 of _Campbell's_ edition of _Harris'
Voyages_; but the nautical details there given are very incorrect.]

TASMAN. 1644.

It is not from any direct information, that ABEL JANSZ TASMAN is placed
as the next discoverer upon the western coasts of Terra Australis; for,
as has been already observed, no account of his second voyage has ever
been made public, or is any such known to exist. It is, however,
supposed, with great probability of truth, that, after the examination of
the North Coast, he pursued his course westward along the shore to the
North-west Cape, conformably to his instructions; but that he did not go
further southward along the Land of Endragt than to the tropic of
Capricorn, where he quitted his examination, and returned to Batavia.

The chart published by Thevenot, in 1663, gives a form to the Western
Coasts, and joins them to the northern Van Diemen's Land; but it is
evident from Tasman's instructions, that the part between De Witt's Land
and Cape Van Diemen was unknown to the Dutch government at Batavia in
1644. And since there is no account of its having been seen during the
intermediate nineteen years, it may be concluded that the North-west
Coast was first explored by him; and Dampier says (Vol. III. p. 96), that
he had Tasman's chart of it; though none bearing his name can now be

[* The French editor of the _Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes_,
published in 1807, Vol. I. p. 128, attributes the formation of the
North-west Coast in the common charts to the expedition of the three
Dutch vessels sent from Timor in 1705. But this is a mistake. It is the
chart of Thevenot, his countryman, _published forty-two years previously_
to that expedition, which has been mostly followed by succeeding

The notes of burgomaster Witsen show, that the North-west Coast was
visited by Tasman; and as they give the earliest information of the
inhabitants, and are curious in themselves, they are here transcribed
from Mr. Dalrymple's Papua.

"In lat. 13 deg. 8' S. lon. 146 deg. 18'" (probably about 1291/2 deg. east of
Greenwich), "the coast is barren. The people are bad and wicked, shooting
at the Dutch with arrows, without provocation, when they were coming on
shore: It is here very populous."

"In 14 deg. 58' S. lon. 138 deg. 59' (about 125 deg. east), the people are savage,
and go naked: none can understand them."

"In HOLLANDIA NOVA,* in 17 deg. 12' S. (lon. 121 deg. or 122 deg. east) _Tasman_
found a naked, black people, with curly hair; malicious and cruel, using
for arms, bows and arrows, hazeygaeys and kalawaeys. They once came to
the number of fifty, double armed, dividing themselves into two parties,
intending to have surprised the Dutch, who had landed twenty-five men;
but the firing of guns frightened them so that they fled. Their prows are
made of the bark of trees: their coast is dangerous: there are few
vegetables: the people use no houses."

[* This expression indicates, that the before-mentioned places were not
then included under the term NEW HOLLAND by Witsen: he wrote in 1705.]

"In 19 deg. 35' S. long. 134 deg. (about 120 deg., apparently), the inhabitants are
very numerous, and threw stones at the boats sent by the Dutch to the
shore. They made fires and smoke all along the coast, which, it was
conjectured, they did to give notice to their neighbours of strangers
being upon the coast. They appear to live very poorly; go naked; eat yams
and other roots."

DAMPIER. 1688.

The buccaneers with whom our celebrated navigator, WILLIAM DAMPIER, made
a voyage round the world, came upon the north-west coast of Terra
Australis, for the purposes of careening their vessel, and procuring
refreshments. They made the land in the latitude of 16 deg. 50', due south
from a shoal whose longitude is now known to be 1221/4 deg. east. From thence,
they ran along the shore, N. E. by E. twelve leagues, to a bay or
opening, where a convenient place was found for their purpose. Dampier's
description of the country and inhabitants of the place, where he
remained from Jan. 5. to March 12., is contained in the account of his
voyages, Vol. I. page 462 to 470; and renders it unnecessary to do more
than to mark its coincidence or disagreement with what is said, in the
above note from Tasman, of the inhabitants and country near the same part
of the coast.

Dampier agrees in the natives being "a naked, black people, with curly
hair," like that of the negroes; but he says they have "a piece of the
rind of a tree tied like a girdle about their waists, and a handful of
long grass, or three or four green boughs full of leaves, thrust under
their girdle, to cover their nakedness." Also, "that the two fore teeth of
the upper jaw are wanting in all of them, men and women, old and young:
neither have they any beards;" which circumstances are not mentioned in
the note from Tasman. Dampier did not see either bows or arrows amongst
them; but says, "the men, at our first coming ashore, threatened us with
their lances and swords; but they were frightened by firing one gun,
which we did purposely to scar them." Of "their prows made of the bark of
trees," he saw nothing. On the contrary, he "espied a drove of these men
swimming from one island to another; for _they have no boats, canoes, or
bark logs_." The English navigator is silent as to any dangers upon the
twelve leagues of coast seen by him; but fully agrees in the scarcity of
the vegetable productions, and in the circumstance of the natives using
no houses.

VLAMING. 1696.

The relation of Willem DE VLAMING'S voyage to New Holland was published
at Amsterdam in 1701; but not having been fortunate enough to procure it,
I have had recourse to _Valentyn_, who, in his _Description of Banda_,
has given what appears to be an abridgment of the relation. What follows
is conformable to the sense of the translation which Dr. L. Tiarks had
the goodness to make for me; and the reasons for entering more into the
particulars of this voyage than usual are, the apparent correctness of
the observations, and that no account of them seems to have been
published in the English language.*

[* The Abbe Prevost in his _Hist. gen. des Voyages_, Tome XVI. (a la
Haye) p. 79-81, has given some account of Vlaming's voyage in French; but
the observations on the coast between Shark's Bay and Willem's River are
there wholly omitted.]

A Dutch ship, called the _Ridderschap_, having been missing from the time
she had left the Cape of Good Hope, in 1684 or 1685, it was thought
probable she might have been wrecked upon the GREAT SOUTH LAND, and that
some of the crew might (in 1696) be still living. Accordingly, the
commodore Willem de Vlaming, who was going out to India with the
_Geelvink_, _Nyptang_, and _Wezel_, was ordered to make a search for

On Dec. 28, the ships got soundings in 48 fathoms, coral bottom; in
latitude 31 deg. 53', and longitude 133 deg. 44' (east, apparently, from the Peak
of Teneriffe, 16 deg. 45' to the west of Greenwich); where the variation was
observed to be 10 deg. 28' west: they afterwards had 25 fathoms, on better
ground. On the 29th, they anchored under the island _Rottenest_, which
lies in lat. 31 deg. 50', long. 134 deg. 25';* and next day, a piece of wood,
which had some time been fixed to the deck of a ship, was found upon the
shore; but the nails were then rusted away. Fire wood was abundant here.

[* The account in _Van Keulen_ is somewhat different. He says "we steered
for the Land of Endragt: and on Dec. 28, got soundings in 63 fathoms,
sandy bottom. The ensuing day we had 30 fathoms, and the coast was then
in sight. The Island Rottenest, in 32 deg. south latitude, was the land we
steered for; and we had from 30 to 10 fathoms, in which last we anchored
on a sandy bottom."]

VLAMING. 1697.

Jan. 5. Vlaming went on shore (to the main coast), with eighty-eight
armed men, and walked inland to the eastward. There were a few large, and
some small trees, from which dropped a kind of _gum-lac_; but they found
nothing which could be used as food: the birds were small cockatoos and
green parrots, and both were very shy. At the end of three hours walk
they came to a piece of water, which was salt, and upon the beach were
footsteps of full-grown persons and of children. No men were seen, but
they observed many smokes; and found three deserted huts, so low and
ill-constructed as to be inferior to those of the Hottentots.

On the 6th, they divided themselves into three parties: one took to the
north, another to the south, and the third went four miles east, more
into the interior; but, except one or two decayed huts, they met with
nothing. Being returned to the salt lake without finding fresh water,
they dug a pit near the side of it, and obtained wherewith to relieve
their thirst. The lake had fallen a foot, which showed it to have a
communication with the sea; and they afterwards found the outlet, a
little to the southward. No noxious animal of any kind was seen; and
after remaining on shore all night, they returned on board on the 7th.
The ships were then anchored nearer to the land, with the entrance of the
lake or river bearing S. E. by E. The commodore afterwards went up this
river, to the distance of fourteen or sixteen leagues, and caught some
smelts, as also several black swans, of which two were taken alive to

[* This appears to be the first mention made of the black swan: the river
was named _Black-Swan River_.]

Having clearly ascertained the latitude (of the ships at anchor, most
probably,) to be 31 deg. 43' south, and discovered a reef four geographic
miles in length, and two miles from the shore, they sailed from thence on
Jan. 13. The wind was from the southward; and whilst the ships steered N.
by W., parallel to the coast, the boats ran along within them, to examine
it more closely. On the 15th, the people from the boats reported that
they had seen neither men nor animals, and very few trees; but had met
with a reef near the shore, in 30 deg. 17'; and many shoals, both under and
above water.

Fires upon the land were seen from all the ships in the night of Jan. 16;
and next day, a boat was sent with armed people; but they returned with
nothing, except some sea-mews which had been caught upon the islands and
shoals lying along the coast. On the 18th, the ships were in latitude 30 deg.
30', and found the variation to be 9 deg. 21' west; and the 20th, some small
islands were seen, and shrubs observed on the main land. On the 23rd,
they were near a steep head, in 28 deg. 8', and sent a boat to the shore; but
the high surf prevented landing. People were perceived walking on the
downs, but at too great a distance to distinguish more than that they
were of the common stature, black, and naked.* The boat got on shore soon
afterward, when some brackish water was found; and having landed again on
the 27th, the people saw some huts, as also the footsteps of men, and
some birds; but there was no other vegetation than small shrubs. Some
very indifferent water was the sole useful thing met with, and it was too
far off for any to be taken on board.

[* It was near this place that captain Pelsert put the two Dutch
conspirators on shore in 1629. Vlaming appears to have passed within
_Houtman's Abrolhos_ without seeing them.]

Jan. 30. The boats were again sent on shore, and discovered two inlets,
of which the southernmost, in latitude 26 deg. 16', was three miles in width.
On Feb. 2, they found two other openings, very deep, one of which ran up
northward, and the other to the east, far inland. They went eleven
leagues up the first of these, and found that it had another
communication with the sea, to the N. N. W.* On the 3rd, a boat brought
the above account; and also, that the chief mate of the Geelvink had
found a plate of tin, with an inscription commemorating the arrival and
departure of _Dirk Hartog_. (See the inscription under the article
Hartog, preceding.) This Road of Dirk Hartog's Bay, where the plate had
been set up, is in 25 deg. 24'; and the west variation was 8 deg. 34'.

[* These two openings, which in the original are called rivers, were
nothing more than the entrance into Shark's Bay. A small island, lying a
little within the entrance, probably made it be taken for two openings.]

No mention is made by Valentyn of the ships entering the road, nor of
their departure from it; but it should seem that they anchored on Feb. 4.
On the 5th, commodore Vlaming and the commander of the Nyptang went with
three boats to the shore, which proved to be an island. They found also a
river, and went up it four or five leagues, amongst rocks and shoals;
when they saw much water inland, as if the country were drowned, but no
men, nor any thing for food; and, wherever they dug, the ground was salt.
They afterwards came to another river, which they ascended about one
league, and found it to terminate in a round basin, and to be entirely
salt water. No men were seen, nor any animals, except divers which were
very shy; and the country was destitute of grass and trees. Returning
downward on the 10th, they saw footsteps of men and children, of the
common size, and observed the point of entrance into the river to be of a
very red sand.

The ships appear to have left Dirk Hartog's Road on Feb. 12. In the
evening, the west variation was observed to be 7 deg. 21'; am on the 13th,
they saw a cliffy point from whence three shoals, connected by a reef,
stretch out to the N. N. E. The shore here, in latitude 24 deg. 42', lies S.
by E. and N. by W. On the 16th, they passed round the point, and steered
southward along the inner side of this land; and having doubled its south
end, found that it was it was an island: their latitude was then 24 deg. 54'.

Feb. 17. The variation was observed to be 5 deg. west, in latitude 23 deg. 59'.
Eight miles south of this situation they saw a bay with a rugged point;
but to the northward the land was low: the variation was 7 deg. 3', in the
evening. They discovered some reefs on the 19th, lying three geographic
miles off shore; and also a point or cape (the North-west Cape) from
which a reef extended two miles to the N. N. W. On the north side of this
cape is a bay, where the Geelvink anchored; and a little further on
(eastward), the other two vessels found an _opening like a river, whose
entrance was twelve miles wide_. They went into it, _but could no where
find anchorage_. The bay is called _Willem's River_; and the two vessels
afterwards there joined the Geelvink: it is in 21 deg. 28'. The same day it
was determined to sail for Batavia, every thing having been done that the
commodore's orders required; and, on the 21st, they departed accordingly.

Thus the West Coast, from the island Rottenest to the North-west Cape,
was examined with care by Vlaming; and it is most probable, that the
chart in Van Keulen, which Mr. Dalrymple republished, and was the best
known at the end of the eighteenth century, resulted from this same

DAMPIER. 1699.

CAPTAIN WILLIAM DAMPIER visited, a second time, the western coasts of
Terra Australis; being then sent out purposely for discovery, in his
Majesty's ship the _Roebuck_.

In the night of Aug. 1, 1699, he struck soundings upon the northern part
of the Abrolhos shoal, in latitude about 27 deg. 40' south. Next morning he
saw the main coast, and ran northward along it; discovering, in 26. 10',
an opening two leagues wide, but full of rocks and foul ground. Aug. 6,
he anchored (in _Dirk Hartog's Road_) at the entrance of a sound, which
he named SHARK's BAY, in latitude 25 deg. 5' south. He remained there eight
days, examining the sound, cutting wood upon the islands, fishing, etc.;
and gives a description of what was seen in his usually circumstantial

[* For the full account of Dampier's proceedings and observations, with
views of the land, see his _Voyages_, Vol. III. page 81, _et seq_.]

An animal found upon one of the islands is described as "a sort of
raccoon, different from that of the West Indies, chiefly as to the legs;
for these have very short fore legs; but go jumping upon them" (not upon
the short fore, but the long hind, legs, it is to be presumed), "as the
others do; and like them are very good meat." This appears to have been
the small kangaroo, since found upon the islands which form the road; and
if so, this description is probably the first ever made of that singular

Leaving Shark's Bay on Aug. 14, captain Dampier steered northward, along
the coast; but at too great a distance to make much observation upon it,
until he got round the North-west Cape. On the 22nd, he saw an extensive
cluster of islands; and anchored, in latitude 20 deg. 21', under one of the
largest, which he called _Rosemary Island_. This was near the southern
part of De Witt's Land; but, besides an error in latitude of 40', he
complains that, in _Tasman's chart_, "the shore is laid down as all along
joining in one body, or continent, with some openings like rivers; and
not like islands, as really they are."--"By what we saw of them, they
must have been a range of islands, of about twenty leagues in length,
stretching from E. N. E. to W. S. W.; and for ought I know, as far as to
those of Shark's Bay; and to a considerable breadth also, for we could
see nine or ten leagues in amongst them, towards the continent or main
land of New Holland, _if there be any such thing hereabouts_: And by the
great tides I met with awhile afterwards, more to the north-east, I had a
strong suspicion that here might be a kind of archipelago of islands; and
a passage, possibly, to the to the south of New Holland and New Guinea,
into the great South Sea, eastward."

Not finding fresh water upon such of the islands as were visited that
day, captain Dampier quitted his anchorage next morning, and "steered
away E. N. E., coasting along as the land lies." He seems to have kept
the land in sight, in the day time, at the distance of four to six
leagues; but the shore being low, this was too far for him to be certain
whether all was main land which he saw; and what might have been passed
in the night was still more doubtful.

Aug. 30, being in latitude 18 deg. 21', and the weather fair, captain Dampier
steered in for the shore; and anchored in 8 fathoms, about three-and-half
leagues off. The tide ran "very swift here; so that our nun-buoy would
not bear above the water to be seen. It flows here, as on that part of
New Holland I described formerly, about five fathoms."

He had hitherto seen no inhabitants; but now met with several. The place
at which he had touched in the former voyage "was not above forty or
fifty leagues to the north-east of this. And these were much the same
blinking creatures (here being also abundance of the same kind of flesh
flies teizing them), and with the same black skins, and hair frizzled,
tall and thin, etc., as those were. But we had not the opportunity to see
whether these, as the former, wanted two of their fore teeth." One of
them, who was supposed to be a chief, "was painted with a circle of
white paste or pigment about his eyes, and a white streak down his nose,
from his forehead to the tip of it. And his breast, and some part of his
arms, were also made white with the same paint."

Neither bows nor arrows were observed amongst these people: they used
wooden lances, such as Dampier had before seen. He saw no houses at
either place, and believed they had none; but "there were several things
like haycocks, standing in the savannah; which, at a distance, we thought
were houses, looking just like the Hottentots' houses at the Cape of Good
Hope; but we found them to be so many rocks." *

[* Dampier could not have examined these rocks closely; for there can be
little doubt that they were the ant hills described by Pelsert as being
"so large., that they might have been taken for the houses of Indians."]

The land near the sea-coast is described as equally sandy with the parts
before visited, and producing, amongst its scanty vegetation, nothing for
food. No stream of fresh water was seen, nor could any, fit to drink, be
procured by digging.

Quitting this inhospitable shore, captain Dampier weighed his anchor on
September 5, with the intention of seeking water and refreshments further
on to the north-eastward. The shoals obliged him to keep at a
considerable distance from the land; and finally, when arrived at the
latitude 16 deg. 9', to give up his project, and direct his course for Timor.


With the voyage of Dampier terminates the information gained of the
Western Coasts, previously to the year 1801. Monsieur de _St. Alouarn_
had, indeed, seen some points or islands, in the year 1772, when he
commanded the French _flute Le Gros Ventre_; but the particulars are not
generally known, being, in all probability, of little importance.

The summary of the knowledge possessed by the public, and the objects to
which investigation might be usefully directed in these parts of Terra
Australis, were as follow. The outline of the north-west coast was known
upon the authority, as generally believed, of _Tasman_; with some points
corrected by _Dampier_. The accuracy of Tasman's chart was, however, very
much called in doubt: instead of being a continued shore, as the Dutch
chart represented it, Dampier found the southern parts of De Witt's Land
to consist of a range of islands. And he gives it as his opinion, that
the northern part of New Holland was separated from the lands to the
southward, by a strait; "unless", says he, "the high tides and indraught
thereabout should be occasioned by the mouth of some large river; which
hath often low lands on each side of the outlet, and many islands and
shoals lying at its entrance: but I rather thought it a channel, or
strait, than a river." This opinion he supports by a fair induction from
facts; and the opening of _twelve miles wide_, seen near the same place
by Vlaming's two vessels, and in which they could find no anchorage,
strongly corroborated Dampier's supposition.

Later information had demonstrated, that the supposed strait could not
lead out into the Great Ocean, eastward, as the English navigator had
conjectured; but it was thought possible, that it might communicate with
the Gulph of Carpentaria, and even probable that a passage existed from
thence to the unknown part of the South Coast, beyond the Isles of St.
Francis and St. Peter.

But whether this opening were the entrance to a strait, separating Terra
Australis into two or more islands, or led into a mediterranean sea, as
some thought; or whether it were the entrance of a large river, there
was, in either case, a great geographical question to be settled,
relative to the parts behind Rosemary Island.

If Tasman's chart were defective at De Witt's Land, it was likely to be
so in other parts of the same coast; where there was no account, or
belief, that it had been examined by any other person further north than
the latitude 161/2 deg.. An investigation of the whole North-west Coast, with
its numerous islands and shoals, was, therefore, required, before it
could enter into the present improved systems of geography and

The chart of the West Coast, as far south as Rottenest, was founded upon
much better authority; but for its formation from thence to Cape Leeuwin
there were no good documents. In this part, there was room even for
discovery; and the whole coast required to be laid down with more
accuracy than had been attainable by the Dutch navigators.

As to the soil and vegetable productions upon several points near the
sea, from Rottenest, northward to 161/2, there was tolerably good general
information; the inhabitants, also, had been seen; and, at one place,
communication with them had been obtained. The accounts did, certainly,
not give any flattering prospect, that much interesting knowledge was
likely to be acquired under these heads, unless a strait, or inland sea,
were found; but the accounts were not only confined as to place, but,
with the exception of Dampier's, were very imperfect; and the great
extent of the coasts, in the richest climates of the world, excited hopes
that a close investigation would not only be of advantage to natural
history, but would bring to light something useful in the mineral or
vegetable kingdoms.

In the case of penetrating the interior of Terra Australis, whether by a
great river, or a strait leading to an inland sea, a superior country,
and perhaps a different people, might be found, the knowledge of which
could not fail to be very interesting, and might prove advantageous to
the nation making the discovery.




Discovery of Nuyts.
Examination of Vancouver:
of D'Entrecasteaux.
Conclusive Remarks.

NUYTS. 1627. (Atl. Pl. I.)

No historical fact seems to be less disputed, than that the South Coast
of New Holland was first discovered in January 1627: whether it were the
26th, according to _De Hondt_, or the 16th, as is expressed on
_Thevenot's_ chart, is of very little import. It is generally said, that
the ship was commanded by PIETER NUYTS; but as Nuyts, on his arrival at
Batavia, was sent ambassador to Japan, and afterwards made governor of
Formosa, it seems more probable that he was a civilian, perhaps Company's
first merchant on board, rather than captain of the ship: the land
discovered has, however, always borne his name.

The Dutch recital says--"In the year 1627, the South Coast of the
_Great_ SOUTH LAND was accidentally discovered by the ship the _Gulde
Zeepaard_, outward-bound from Fatherland, for the space of a thousand

This discovery has always been considered as of importance. A memoir was
published at Amsterdam in 1718, "to prove, that NUYTS' LAND, being in the
fifth climate, between 34 deg. and 36 deg. of latitude; it ought to be, like all
other countries so situated, one of the most habitable, most rich, and
most fertile parts of the world." * The journal of this discovery seems to
have been lost; or possibly was either suppressed or destroyed, according
to what is thought to have been the Dutch policy of that time. It was,
therefore, from the chart, and the above passage in the recital, alone,
that any particulars could be drawn. If the extent of a _thousand miles_
were taken to be in a straight line, and to commence at Cape Leeuwin, the
end of Nuyts' Land would reach nearly to the longitude of 135 deg. east of
Greenwich; but if, as was probable, the windings of the shore were
included, and a deduction made of one-sixth to one-seventh in the
distance, then the Isles of St. Francis and St. Peter might be expected
to be found between the 132nd and 133rd degrees of east longitude.

[* _Hist. des Nav. aux Terres Australes_. Tome I. page 429.]


With the exception of Mons. de St. Alouarn, who is said to have anchored
near Cape Leeuwin in 1772, the south coast of Terra Australis, though
occupying much attention from geographers, seems to have been left
unvisited from 1627 to 1791. In this year, captain GEORGE VANCOUVER,
being on his way to North-west America, made the South Coast on Sept. 26,
at _Cape Chatham_, in latitude 35 deg. 3' south, and longitude 116 deg. 35' east,
not many leagues beyond where Nuyts appears to have commenced his
discovery. He sailed eastward, from thence, along the shore, till the
28th; when he anchored in a sound, to which was given the name of KING

The country in the neighbourhood of the Sound, and of its two harbours,
was found to be agreeably variegated in form; to be clothed with grass
and wood; and, though generally more barren than fertile, yet affording
many spots capable of cultivation. No considerable river was discovered;
but fresh water was every where abundant for domestic purposes; and the
climate was judged to be as healthy as the temperature was found to be
agreeable. Kangaroos did not appear to be scarce; nor were the woods ill
tenanted by the feathered tribes; and reptiles and other noxious animals
were not numerous. Amongst the aquatic birds, black swans and wild ducks
held a distinguished place; but, like the land animals, were very shy:
sea and shell fish were in tolerable abundance.

None of the inhabitants were seen; but from the appearance of their
deserted huts, they were judged to be the same miserable race as those of
the North-west and East Coasts. No marks of canoes, nor the remains of
fish, even shell fish, were found near their habitations; and this
circumstance, with the shyness of the birds and quadrupeds, induced a
belief that the natives depended principally upon the woods for their

Captain Vancouver quitted King George's Sound on Oct. 11, and proceeded
eastward in the examination of the coast; but unfavourable winds
prevented him from doing this so completely as he wished, and some parts
were passed unseen; and the impediments to his progress at length caused
the examination to be quitted, in favour of prosecuting the main design
of his voyage. The last land seen was _Termination Island_, in latitude
34 deg. 32' and longitude 122 deg. 8'. The coast to the north of this island
appeared much broken; but, although in Nuyts' chart a considerable group
of islands were laid down in about that situation, captain Vancouver
rather supposed it to be a continued main land.*

[* For captain Vancouver's account of his proceedings and observations on
the South Coast, see his _Voyage round the World_, Vol. I. page 28-57.]

So far as this examination extended, the general form of the coast was
found to correspond with that of the old chart; nor was any material
error found in Nuyts' latitude. A further, and more extended confirmation
of the Dutch navigator's discovery, and of its having been well laid
down, considering the period at which it was done, was obtained in the
following year.


The French rear-admiral BRUNY D'ENTRECASTEAUX, having been sent out with
the ships _La Recherche_ and _L'Esperance_ in search of the unfortunate
La Perouse made the south coast of New Holland on Dec. 5, 1792, about
twenty-eight leagues to the north-west of Cape Chatham.* The coast, from
the South-west Cape to the longitude of Termination Island, was explored
by the admiral, with all the minuteness that the state of the weather
could permit; and he was, generally, able to keep the shore closer abord
than captain Vancouver had done, and to supply the deficiencies in his
chart. The broken land to the north of Termination Island was found to be
conformable to what Nuyts had laid down: it made part of a very extensive
group of islands, one of which afforded timely shelter to the French
ships on Dec. 9, from a gale which had arisen at south-west.

[*When the Investigator sailed, the journal of _M. Labillardiere_,
naturalist in D'Entrecasteaux's expedition, was the sole account of the
voyage made public: but M. DE ROSSEI one of the principal officers, has
since published the voyage from the journals of the rear-admiral and it
is from this last that what follows is extracted.]

They remained a week at this anchorage, whilst the naturalists explored
the surrounding country, and the surveyors examined such of the islands
as were visible from the ships. Seals, penguins, and some kangaroos were
seen; but no fresh water, accessible to shipping, could any where be
found; the country within their reach being sandy and sterile. From Dec.
17 to 24, the ships were occupied in coasting eastward, along the
outskirt of the group of islands, and then found it to terminate at 21/2 deg.
of longitude from its commencement. The main land at the back of the
islands had been generally visible, but at too great a distance for the
precise form of the coast to be ascertained, or to allow of fixing the
positions of, or even seeing, many of the inner islands and reefs.

This group is the first of the two marked upon the chart of Nuyts; and
admiral D'Entrecasteaux praises the general accuracy of the Dutch
navigator, in that "the latitude of Point Leeuwin, and of the coast of
Nuyts' Land, were laid down with an exactness, surprising for the remote
period in which they had been discovered." This liberal acknowledgment
renders it the more extraordinary, that in the appellation which it was
judged proper to give to this extensive group, the French admiral had not
rather thought of doing honour to the original discoverer, or to the
_Gulde Zeepaard_, than to his own ship; more especially, as his
examination was far from being complete. This would have been more
conformable to his general practice; but ARCHIPEL DE LA RECHERCHE was the
name adopted.

Beyond the archipelago, the South Coast was found to trend
east-north-eastward; without any island lying off it, or presenting any
place of shelter. The shore was either a steep calcareous cliff, of an
equal height, or low and sandy, with a few naked hillocks behind; and
above these, no hill., nor any thing of the interior country, could be
discerned. "It is not surprising," says D'Entrecasteaux., "that Nuyts has
given no details of this barren coast; for its aspect is so uniform, that
the most fruitful imagination could find nothing to say of it."


Frustrated in his expectation of procuring fresh water, and having no
more than sufficient, at a short allowance, to reach Van Diemen's Land,
the admiral abandoned the investigation of the South Coast, on Jan. 3;
being then in latitude 31 deg. 49' south, and longitude 131 deg. 381/2' east of

In the otherwise excellent charts constructed by M. BEAUTEMPS-BEAUPRE,
geographical engineer on board La Recherche, there is an extraordinary
omission, arising either from the geographer, or the conductor of the
voyage. In the first 12 deg. of longitude no soundings are marked along the
coast; whilst, in the last 50, they are marked with tolerable regularity:
the cause of this difference is not explained.

In comparing the French chart with that of Nuyts, it appeared that the
rear-admiral had not proceeded so far along this coast as the Dutch
navigator had done; for he did not see the islands of St. Francis and St.
Peter, nor the reef marked about thirty leagues to the west of them. The
point, however, where D'Entrecasteaux's examination terminated, was, in
all probability, within a few leagues of that reef; and the end of Nuyts'
discovery would be between 133 deg. and 134 deg. to the east of Greenwich.


The South Coast was not known, in 1801, to have been visited by any other
than the three navigators, _Nuyts_, _Vancouver_, and _D'Entrecasteaux_.*
The coast line, from Cape Leeuwin to near the longitude of 132 deg., was
generally so well ascertained, and the charts of Vancouver and
D'Entrecasteaux appeared to be so good, that little remained in this
space for future visitors to discover. At two places, the country and
productions near the sea-side had also been examined; though no
communication had any where been obtained with the inhabitants. It was
known also from Nuyts, that at 133 deg. or 134 deg. of east longitude, commenced
a second archipelago; and that the coast began there to assume an
irregular form; but in what direction it trended, whether to the
south-eastward for Bass' Strait, or northward for the Gulph of
Carpentaria, was altogether uncertain.

[* It afterwards appeared, that lieutenant James Grant had discovered a
part of it in 1800, in his way to Port Jackson with His Majesty's brig
Lady Nelson.]

The great point, then, which required to be ascertained, was the form of
the land from longitude 133 deg. to 146 deg. east, and from south latitude 32 deg. to
381/2 deg.; comprising a space of two hundred and fifty leagues in a straight
line. What rendered a knowledge of this part more particularly
interesting, was the circumstance of no considerable river having been
found on any of the coasts of Terra Australis previously explored: but it
was scarcely credible that, if this vast country were one connected mass
of land, it should not contain some large rivers; and if any, this
unknown part was one of two remaining places, where they were expected to
discharge themselves into the sea.

The apparent want of rivers had induced some persons to think, that Terra
Australis might be composed of two or more islands, as had formerly been
suspected by the Dutch, and by Dampier; whilst others, believing in the
continuity of the shores, thought this want might arise from the interior
being principally occupied by a mediterranean sea; but it was generally
agreed, that one end of the separating channels, or otherwise the
entrance, if such existed, into the supposed sea, would most likely be
found in this unexplored part of the South Coast.

Besides the solution of this important geographical problem, something
remained to be done upon the parts already seen. The main land behind the
first archipelago, as also the inner islands, were yet to be examined for
harbours, where refreshment for ships might be obtained; a comparison of
the persons and usages of the inhabitants, with those in other parts of
this vast country, was desirable; and, although little utility could be
drawn from the known productions at the two points visited, it might
reasonably be hoped, that an investigation of a coast so extensive, would
not fail to produce much useful information.

Many circumstances, indeed, united to render the south coast of Terra
Australis one of the most interesting parts of the globe, to which
discovery could be directed at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Its investigation had formed a part of the instructions to the
unfortunate French navigator La Perouse, and afterwards of those to his
countryman D'Entrecasteaux; and it was, not without some reason,
attributed to England as a reproach, that an imaginary line of more than
two hundred and fifty leagues extent, in the vicinity of of one of her
colonies, should have been so long suffered to remain traced upon the
charts, under the title Of UNKNOWN COAST. This comported ill with her
reputation as the first of maritime powers; and to do it away was,
accordingly, a leading point in the instructions given to the





Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Tasman;
of Cook;
Marion and Furneaux.
Observations of Cook;
Bligh; and Cox.
Discovery of D'Entrecasteaux.


Van Diemen'S Land would more properly have been arranged under the head
of the South Coast; but the later discoveries here have so intimate a
connexion with those on the East, as to render it impossible to separate
them without making repetitions, and losing perspicuity in the narrative.

The anxiety of the Dutch government at Batavia, to know how far the SOUTH
LANDS might extend towards the antarctic circle, was the cause of Tasman
being sent with two vessels, to ascertain this point; and the discovery
of Van Diemen's Land was one of the results. It was not, however, the
policy of the Dutch government to make discoveries for the benefit of
general knowledge; and accordingly this voyage "was never," says Dr.
Campbell, "published intire; and it is probable, that the East-India
Company never intended it should be published at all. However, _Dirk
Rembrantz_, moved by the excellency and accuracy of the work, published
in _Low Dutch_ an extract of captain Tasman's journal, which has ever
since been considered as a great curiosity; and as such, has been
translated into many languages." *

[* _Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, originally published by
John Harris, D. D. and F. R. S._ London, 1744. Vol. I. page 325.]

If a judgment may be formed from the translations, Rembrantz must have
omitted great part of the nautical details concerning Van Diemen's Land,
a defect which is remedied in the following account. It is taken from a
journal containing, besides the daily transactions and observations
throughout the whole voyage, a series of thirty-eight manuscript charts,
views, and figures. The expression _by me_, which often occurs in it, and
followed by the signature _Abel Jansz Tasman_, shows that if this were
not his original journal, it is a copy from it: probably one made on
board for the governor and council of Batavia. With this interesting
document, and a translation made in 1776, by Mr. C. G. Woide, chaplain of
His Majesty's Dutch chapel at St. James's, I was favoured by the Right

[* I am proud to take this opportunity of publicly expressing my
obligations to the Right Hon. President of the Royal Society; and of thus
adding my voice to the many who, in the pursuit of science, have found in
him a friend and patron. Such he proved in the commencement of my voyage,
and in the whole course of its duration; in the distresses which tyranny
heaped upon those of accident; and after they were overcome. His
extensive and valuable library has been laid open; and has furnished much
that no time or expense, within my reach, could otherwise have procured.]

TASMAN. 1642. (Atlas. Plate VII.)

CAPTAIN ABEL JANSZ TASMAN sailed from Batavia on Aug. 14, 1642, with the
yacht _Heemskerk_ and fly-boat _Zeehaan_; and, after touching at
Mauritius, steered south and eastward upon discovery. Nov. 24, at four
p.m., high land was seen in the E. by N., supposed to be distant forty
miles. The ships steered towards it till the evening; when there were
high mountains visible in the E. S. E., and two smaller ones in the N. E.
They sounded in 100 fathoms, and then stood off from the land, with the
wind at south-east.

In the morning of Nov. 25., it was calm; but on a breeze springing up
from the southward, Tasman steered for the land; and at five p.m., when
it was twelve miles distant, sounded in 60 fathoms, coral bottom: at four
miles off, the bottom was fine white sand. The latitude was then 42 deg. 30'
south; the _mean of all their longitudes_ 163 deg. 50' east (of Teneriffe
apparently); and the compass had no variation. The coast here lies S. by
E. and N. by W. It is of an even height; and was named ANTONY VAN
DIEMEN's LAND, in honour of the governor-general, "our master, who sent
us out to make discoveries. The islands round about, as many of them as
were known to us, we called in honour of the Council of India."

The ships stood off again for the night, with a light breeze at S. S. E.
On the 26th, the wind was from the eastward, and weather rainy, so that
no land could be seen; but its distance was supposed to be twelve or
thirteen leagues. At noon, the latitude from dead reckoning was 43 deg. 36',
and longitude 163 deg. 2'; the course having been S. S. W. 72 miles.* In the
evening the wind shifted to the north-east, and their course was directed
E. S. E.: the variation was then half a degree west.

[* This and the following courses and distances run from one noon to
another, do not always agree with the latitudes and longitudes; but the
differences are not great: They probably arose from the distances being
marked to the nearest Dutch mile on the log board; whereas the latitude
and longitude are taken to minutes of a degree.]

Nov. 27, the land was again seen. At noon, a course of S. E. by E. 52
miles, gave the latitude by estimation 44 deg. 4' south, and longitude 164 deg.
2' east. The weather was thick and rainy, and the wind still from the
north-eastward; and at the fourth hour of the night, the vessels lay to,
not venturing to run in the dark. In the morning of the 28th, it was
foggy, with rain. They made sail to the east; but on seeing the land from
N. E. to N. N. E., hauled up for it. From what could be perceived of the
coast, it extended S. E. by E. and N. W. by W., and seemed to decrease in
height to the eastward. At noon, the latitude by estimation was 44 deg. 1',
longitude 165 deg. 2'; and the course steered, E. by S. 44 miles. The wind
was then at north-west; and in the evening, they came near three small
islands, one of which was shaped like a lion's head, and lies twelve
miles from the continent (this was the _Mewstone_, of Furneaux). The wind
was from the eastward in the night, and the ships lay to.

Nov. 29, they were still near the cliffy, lion-head-shaped island. The
wind was light and fair, and they steered parallel to the coast, which
lies here east and west. At noon, having made a course of E. N. E. 48
miles, the latitude was judged to be 43 deg. 53', longitude 166 deg. 3'. They
had, a little before, passed two cliffy islets lying to seaward; of which
the westernmost (_Swilly_ of Furneaux) is like _Pedra Blanca_ near the
coast of China: the easternmost (_Eddystone_ of Cook) resembles an
awkward tower, and is about sixteen miles from the main land. Continuing
to coast along the shore, they came, at five in the evening, to a bay,
into which it was resolved in council to enter; but when almost in it, a
high wind rose, and obliged them to shorten sail and stand out to sea. At
daylight of the 30th, they found themselves driven so far off by the
_storm_ (whence the name of STORM BAY, applied in the chart), that the
land was scarcely visible. At noon, the general course had been E. by N.
80 miles; the latitude _was found_ to be 43 deg. 41', and longitude by
estimation (corrected) 168 deg. 3': the needle pointed here, true North. The
land was in sight to the north-west, and the wind strong, but variable,
from the northward. The ships steered westward for a short time; but the
weather being too stormy to admit of approaching the land, they went upon
the other tack; and kept as much to the northward., under easy sail, as
the wind would permit.

Dec. 1, the wind was more moderate; and on its veering to W. S. W., the
ships steered towards the shore. At noon, their course made good was N.
N. W. 39 miles; the latitude was 43 deg. 10' and longitude 167 deg. 55'. It then
fell calm, and a council of officers from the two vessels was called, in
which it was resolved, if wind and weather permitted, "to get a knowledge
of the land, and some refreshments." An eastern breeze sprung up soon
afterward; and they got to anchor, an hour after sunset, "in a good port,
in 22 fathoms, whitish good-holding sand; wherefore we ought to cc praise
GOD ALMIGHTY." This port is called FREDERIK HENDRIK'S BAY, in the chart.

Next morning early, two armed boats were sent to an inlet (the inner
bay), situate four or five miles to the north-westward of the ships, in
order to search for fresh water, wood, and refreshments. They returned in
the afternoon, and the officers gave the following account.

They rowed four or five miles round the point of the inlet, along a high
and level shore. Wild greens were plentiful; some resembled those at the
Cape of Good Hope, "and may be used in place of wormwood;" others were
long and saltish, and like sea parsley. They found many dry gullies, and
one watering place in which the water was good, but obtained with
difficulty, and in very small quantities. Some human voices were heard,
and a sound like that of a trumpet, or little _gong_, which was not far
off; but they could see no person. Amongst the trees, two were remarked
whose thickness was two, or two and a half fathoms, and the first
branches from sixty to sixty-five feet above the ground. The bark had
been taken off with a flint stone, and steps were cut, full five feet one
from the other; whence the natives were presumed to be very tall, or able
to get up these trees by some artifice. They supposed the steps to be
made for the purpose of getting at the nests of birds; and that some of
them had not been cut above four days before. They observed traces on the
ground, as if made by the claws of a tiger; and saw the excrements, as
was thought, of quadrupeds. Some well-looking gums, which dropped from
the trees and somewhat resembled _gum-lac_, were brought on board.

Off the east point of the (inner) bay, they found thirteen to fourteen
feet water; and that the tide flowed about three feet. They there saw a
number of men, of wild ducks, and geese; but inland none were seen,
though their noise was heard. Muscles were found sticking to bushes, in
different places. The country was covered with trees; but so thinly
scattered, that one might see every where to a great distance amongst
them, and distinguish men and animals. Several of the trees were "much
burnt about the foot; and the ground was here and there like little
squares (_vuysterchen_), and become as hard as stone, by fire."

A short time before the boats returned, a thick smoke had been observed
upon the continent, to the west of where the ships lay at anchor; and
from the people staying so much longer than they had been ordered, it was
thought to have been made by them, as a signal. But on inquiry, they
answered in the negative; and said that they, also, had seen smoke in
several places; and bushes--(here seems to be a line omitted.) "So that
without doubt, here must be exceedingly tall people."

Dec. 3. A boat was sent to the south-east part of the (outer) bay, and
found fresh water; but it broke through the low shore to the sea, and was
brackish; and the soil was too rocky to dig wells. In the afternoon,
commodore Tasman went, with several officers from both vessels in two
boats, to the south-east extremity of the bay; taking with them the
PRINCE'S flag, and a post upon which was cut a compass, to be erected on
shore. One of the boats was obliged to return, from the bad weather; but
the shallop went to a little cove W. S. W. of the ships. The surf being
there too high to admit of landing, the first carpenter, _Pieter
Jacobsz_, swam on shore with the post and Prince's flag; and set it up
near the last of four remarkable trees, which stood in the form of a
crescent, in the middle of the cove. "When the first carpenter had done
this, in the sight of me ABEL J. TASMAN, of the master _Gerrit Jansz_,
and under-merchant _Abraham Coomans_, we went with the shallop as near as
possible to the shore, and the said carpenter swam back, through the
surf. We then returned on board; and left this as a memorial to the
posterity of the inhabitants of this country. They did not show
themselves; but we suspected some to be not far from thence, watching
carefully our doings."

The wind was from the northward all this day; and at sunset, it blew a
storm. The variation at anchor was observed to be 3 deg. east; the latitude
was 43 deg. south, and longitude 1671/2 deg. east from Teneriffe.

Dec. 4. The wind was more moderate, and came from the westward, off the
land. The anchors were then weighed, but the flukes of one were broken.
On quitting Frederik Hendrik's Bay, the ships steered northward as much
as possible, to look for a watering place. At noon, the course had been
N. E. 32 miles; the latitude was 42 deg. 40', and longitude 168 deg.. In the
evening, they saw a round mountain, about eleven leagues to the N. N. W.;
and during the whole day, several smokes were visible along the coast.
"Here," says Tasman, "I should give a description of the extent of the
coast, and the islands near it, but I hope to be excused, and refer, for
brevity's sake, to the chart made of it, and herewith joined."

The ships kept close to the wind all night, as they did in the morning of
Dec. 5, when it was N. W. by W. The high round mountain was then seen
bearing west, eight leagues, and this was the furthest land visible, nor
did the wind allow them to come in with it again. At noon, the latitude
was judged to be 41 deg. 34', and longitude 169 deg.; the course for the last day
having been N. E. by N. 80 miles. Tasman then steered "precisely
eastward, to make further discoveries," agreeably to a resolution of the
council, taken in the morning.

The copy of Tasman's charts, given in the Atlas, PLATE III. of
D'Entrecasteaux's Voyage, and taken from Valentyn, is conformable to the
manuscript charts in the Dutch journal. There is, however, an error of
one degree too much east, in the scale of longitude; and Pedra Blanca is
erroneously written against the Eddystone, in the general chart. In the
plan of Frederik Hendrik's Bay, the name is placed _within_ the inner
bay, instead of being written, as in the original, on the point of land
between the inner and outer bays: I conceive the name was intended to
comprise both.*

[* In Vol. III. just published, of captain Burney's _History of
Discoveries in the South Sea_, a copy is given of Tasman's charts, as
they stand in the original.]

COOK. 1770.

More than a century had elapsed after this celebrated voyage of Tasman,
and the eastern limit of Terra Australis remained still unknown. But the
British nation was then taking the lead in discovery; and the new and
liberal principles upon which His Majesty, GEORGE III, ordered it to be
prosecuted, was a sure indication that so considerable a part of the
globe would not long escape attention. Captain JAMES COOK, accompanied by
Mr. Green, was sent in the _Endeavour_ to observe, at Taheity, the
transit of Venus over the sun's disk; and after accomplishing that
object, and making a survey of New Zealand, he continued his course
westward, in order to explore the east side of the _Terra Australis

(Atlas, Pl. I.)

In the morning of April 19,1770, the land was seen bearing from
north-east to west; the furthest part, in the latter direction, being
judged to lie in 38 deg. south, and 148 deg. 53' east. But captain Cook could not
determine whether it did, or did not, join to Tasman's Van Diemen's Land.

It would be superfluous, here, to follow our great navigator in his
discoveries along the coast, northward to _Botany Bay_ and from thence to
Cape York. Such an abstract as suits the plan of this Introduction would
be little satisfactory to the reader; when, by an easy reference to the
original narrative, so much interesting information upon this new
country, its productions, and inhabitants, may be obtained.*

[* _Hawkesworth's Voyages_, Vol. III. page 77, _et seq_.]

This voyage of captain Cook, whether considered in the extent of his
discoveries and the accuracy with which they were traced, or in the
labours of his scientific associates, far surpassed all that had gone
before. The general plan of the voyage did not, however, permit captain
Cook to enter minutely into the details of every part; and had it been
otherwise, the very extent of his discoveries would have rendered it
impossible. Thus, some portions of the east coast of Terra Australis were
passed in the night, many openings were seen and left unexamined., and
the islands and reefs lying at a distance from the shore could,
generally, be no more than indicated: he reaped the harvest of discovery,
but the gleanings of the field remained to be gathered.

MARION. 1772.

The first visitor to Van Diemen's Land, after Tasman, its discoverer, was
captain MARION. He commanded the _Mascarin_ and _Marquis de Castries_,
from the Isle Mauritius; and one of the objects of his expedition, was
the discovery of the supposed SOUTHERN CONTINENT. This voyage possesses a
considerable degree of interest, and was published at Paris in 1783; but
not being generally known in England, the parts which relate to Van
Diemen's Land, are here given in abridgment.

March 3, 1772, M. Marion made the west side, in latitude 42 deg. 56', half a
degree south of Tasman's first land fall; and behind a point in 43 deg. 15',
he saw an opening leading to the northward, but of which no particular
mention is made. Steering eastward, round all the rocks and islets lying
off the south coast, he arrived, on the evening of the 4th, in _Frederik
Hendrik's Bay_; and anchored in 22 fathoms, sandy bottom. The great sandy
cove of the outer bay bore from thence, S. 25 deg. W. one league and a half;
the extreme of Maria's Island, N. E. by N.; and the northernmost part of
the main land, N. 5 deg. W. six leagues: (these bearings appear to be as
taken by the compass). The latitude observed here, was 42 deg. 50' south, and
longitude 145 deg. 20 east of Greenwich; the first being 10', and the
longitude above 5 deg. _less_, than given by Tasman.*

[* According to captain Cook, the longitude should be 148 deg. 10'.]

The fires and smokes, seen by day and night, bespoke the country to be
well inhabited; and, on anchoring, there were about thirty men assembled
upon the shore. On the boats being sent next morning, the natives went to
them without distrust; and, having piled together some pieces of wood,
presented a lighted stick to the new comers, and seemed to ask them to
set fire to the pile. Not knowing what this ceremony meant, they
complied; and the act seemed neither to excite surprise, nor to cause any
alteration in the conduct of the natives: they continued to remain about
the French party, with their wives and children, as before.

These people were of the common stature, of a black colour, and were all
naked, both men and women; and some of the latter had children fastened
to their backs, with ropes made of rushes. All the men were armed with
pointed sticks (spears), and with stones which appeared to have been
sharpened in the manner of axe heads. They had, in general, small eyes,
and the white duller than in Europeans; the mouth very wide, the teeth
white, and flat noses. Their hair, which resembled the wool of the
Caffres, was separated into shreds, and powdered with red ochre. They
were generally slender, tolerably well made, kept their shoulders back,
and upon their prominent chests, several had marks raised in the skin.
Their language, appeared harsh; the words seeming to be drawn from the
bottom of the throat.

The French tried to win them by little presents, but they rejected with
disdain every thing that was offered; even iron, looking-glasses,
handkerchiefs, and cloth. They were shown ducks and fowls, which had been
carried from the ships; and it was endeavoured to make them understand,
that such would be gladly purchased of them; but they took these animals,
with which they seemed to be unacquainted, and threw them away in anger.

The party had been about an hour with the savages when captain Marion
went on shore. One of the natives stepped forward, and offered him a
firebrand to be applied to a small heap of wood; and the captain,
supposing it was a ceremony necessary to prove that he came with friendly
intentions, set fire to the heap without hesitation. This was no sooner
done, than they retired precipitately to a small hill, and threw a shower
of stones, by which captain Marion, and the commander of the Castries
were both wounded. Some shots were then fired; and the French, returning
to their boats, coasted along the beach to an open place in the middle of
the bay, where there was no hill or eminence from whence they could be
annoyed. The savages sent their women and children into the woods, and
followed the boats along shore; and on their putting in to land, one of
the natives set up a hideous cry, and immediately a shower of spears was
discharged. A black servant was hurt in the leg; and a firing then
commenced, by which several of the natives were wounded, and one killed.
They fled to the woods, making a frightful howling, but carried off such
of the wounded as were unable to follow. Fifteen men, armed with muskets,
pursued them; and on entering amongst the trees, they found a dying
savage. This man was a little more than five feet seven inches high; his
breast was marked like those of the Mozambique Caffres, and his skin
appeared as black; but on washing off the soot and dirt, his natural
colour appeared to be reddish. The spears, which it was feared might have
been poisoned, were proved not to be so by the facility with which the
wound of the black servant was healed.

After the flight of the savages, captain Marion sent two officers with
detachments, to search for water, and for trees proper to make a foremast
and bowsprit for the Castries; but after traversing two leagues of
country without meeting a single inhabitant, they returned unsuccessful
in both pursuits; nor could any fresh water be found during the six days
which the ships remained in Frederik Hendrik's Bay.

The land here is quite sandy, but covered with brush-wood, and with small
trees which the savages had mostly stripped of the bark for cooking their
shell fish. The greater part of the trees were burnt at the foot; but
amongst them there was a kind of pine, less than ours, which was
perfectly preserved; apparently from the natives finding them to be of
use in some way or other.*

[* It is more probable, that these trees are able to resist the fire
better than the others.]

There were marks of fire almost every where; and in many places the earth
was covered with ashes. Where it was not burnt, there was plenty of
grass, ferns like those of Europe, sorrel, and _alleluia_. From the few
animals seen, it was thought that the fires made by the natives near the
coast, drove them inland. The shooters met with a tiger cat, and saw many
holes in the ground, like those of a warren. They killed crows,
blackbirds, thrushes, doves, a white-bellied paroquet whose plumage
resembled that of the same bird at the River Amazons, and several kinds
of sea birds, principally pelicans, and the black-bodied red bill.

The climate was cold, although in the end of summer; and it excited
surprise, that the savages could go naked; the more so, as the nearest
approach to houses consisted of branches of trees, set up behind the fire
places to break off the wind. The many heaps of shells seemed to bespeak,
that the usual food of these people was muscles and other shell fish.

Many large rays were caught by the French, as also sea cats, old wives,
and several other fish whose names were not known. They found also plenty
of cray-fish, lobsters, very large crabs, and good oysters; and the
curious picked up sea stars, sea eggs, and a variety of fine and rare

Finding he was only losing time in searching for water in this wild
country, captain Marion determined to make sail for New Zealand, where he
hoped to succeed better, and also to obtain masts for the Castries. He
accordingly left Van Diemen's Land on the 10th of March; and the account
of it concludes with the observation that they had very bad weather on
the west coast, but on the east side the sky was much clearer and winds
more moderate.

The chart of _Mons. Crozet_, which accompanies the voyage, appears,
though on a very small scale, to possess a considerable degree of
exactness in the form of the land. The wide opening, called Storm Bay, is
distinctly marked; as is another bay to the westward, with several small
islands in it, the easternmost of which are the _Boreel's Eylanden_ of


A year after Marion had quitted Frederik Hendrik's Bay, Van Diemen's Land
was visited by captain TOBIAs FURNEAUX, in His Majesty's ship
_Adventure_. He made the _South-west Cape_ on March 9, and steered
eastward, close to the islands and rocks called Maatsuyker's, by Tasman;
and behind which lay a bold shore, which seemed to afford several
anchoring places. Some of these rocks resembled, says captain Furneaux,
"the Mewstone, particularly one which we so named, about four or five
leagues E. S. E. 1/2 E. off the above cape, which Tasman has not mentioned,
or laid down in his draughts." * This is nevertheless the lion-head-shaped
island, particularly mentioned by Tasman, as lying twelve miles out from
the coast: the mistake arose from the imperfection of the accounts.
After passing Maatsuyker's Isles, captain Furneaux sent a boat to the
main land, on the 10th, and the people found places where the natives had
been., and where pearl scallop shells were scattered about. "The soil
seemed to be very rich; the country well clothed with wood, particularly
on the lee sides of the hills; plenty of water which falls from the rocks
in beautiful cascades, for two or three hundred feet perpendicular, into
the sea; but they did not see the least sign of any place to anchor in
with safety."

[* _Cook's Second Voyage_, Vol. I. p. 109.]

On the return of the boat, captain Furneaux made sail, and came to "the
westernmost point of a very deep bay, called by Tasman _Stormy Bay_. From
the west to the east point of this bay there are several small islands,
and black rocks which we called the _Friars_." From the Friars he
followed the coast N. by E. four leagues, and the same evening anchored
in ADVENTURE BAY. "We first took this bay," says the captain, "to be that
which Tasman called Frederik Henry Bay; but afterwards found that his is
laid down five leagues to the northward."

Captain Furneaux here mistook the Storm and Frederik Hendrik's Bays of
Tasman; and he has been followed in this error by all the succeeding
navigators of the same nation, which has created not a little confusion
in the geography of this part of the world.

The bay supposed to have been Storm Bay, has no name in Tasman's chart;
though the particular plan shows that he noticed it, as did Marion more
distinctly. The rocks marked at the east point of this bay, and called
the Friars, are the _Boreel's Eylanden_ of Tasman; and the true Storm Bay
is the deep inlet, of which Adventure Bay is a cove. Frederik Hendrik's
Bay is not within this inlet, but lies to the north-eastward, on the
outer side of the land which captain Furneaux, in consequence of his
first mistake, took to be Maria's Island, but which, in fact, is a part
of the main land. All this is evident from a close comparison of the
forms of the land in the two charts, and is corroborated by the
differences of longitude from the Mewstone.

Adventure Bay proved to be a valuable discovery, being a good and
well-sheltered anchorage, where wood and water were abundant, and
procurable without much difficulty. The country was found to be pleasant;
the soil black and rich, though not deep; the sides of the hills covered
with large trees of the evergreen kind, growing to a great height before
they spread out into branches. There were several species of land birds;
and the aquatic fowl were ducks, teal, and the sheldrake. An opossum was
seen, and the excrement of another quadruped, judged to be of the deer
kind. Sea fish were caught, but not in plenty. The lagoons abounded with
trout and several other sorts of fish. No natives came down to the ships;
but their fires were seen at a distance, and several of their miserable
huts were examined. Not the least mark of canoe or boat was seen, and it
was generally thought they had none; "being altogether, from what we
could judge, a very ignorant and wretched set of people; though natives
of a country capable of producing every necessary of life, and a climate
the finest in the world. We found not the least sign of any minerals or

After remaining five days in Adventure Bay, captain Furneaux sailed along
the coast to the northward, in order to discover whether Van Diemen's
Land were joined to New South Wales. He passed the Maria's, Schouten's,
and Vanderlin's Islands of Tasman, at some distance; and then, closing
more in with the coast, he found the land to be low and even, and of an
agreeable aspect, "but no signs of a harbour or bay, where a ship might
anchor in safety." In latitude 40 deg. 50', the coast, from running nearly
north, turned to the westward., and, as captain Furneaux thought, formed
a deep bay. From thence to 39 deg. 50', is nothing but islands and shoals;
the "land high, rocky, and barren." In the course northward, past these
islands, he had regular soundings, from 15 to 30 fathoms, though no land
was visible; it was, however, seen again (or thought to be so) in
latitude 39 deg., and nearly due north from the islands. The bottom then
becoming uneven, our navigator discontinued his course, and steered for
New Zealand.

Whether Van Diemen's Land were, or were not, joined to New South Wales,
was a question not yet resolved; but captain Furneaux gave it as his
opinion, "that there is no strait between New Holland and Van Diemen's
Land, but a very deep bay."

COOK. 1777.

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