Europeans Discover Australia - Part IV - The Dutch


Mercator's Great Map

Mercator produced this superb world map in 1569 which still has one large uncertain southern continent :

You can see a hi resolution version here (19 MB in jpg format.) :

Here is a close-up of what appears to be NW Australia :

Both Beach and Lucach appear here.



Twenty years later, in 1589, most of Asia has been found, so too New Guinea, but Australia is still uncertain :

Now the southern continent is labelled : "Terra Australia, Sjve Magellanica, Non : Dum Detecta"

Meaning approx. : "Southern Land, of? Magellan, not yet Discovered"

Thus, 67 years after Magellan's ship came home (making either Elcano, or the servant/slave Enrique of Malacca, the first person to travel around the globe), the great south land has been named Magellanica in his honour.

Peter Plancio's 1594 world map also has one southern continent, called Magallanica, and also Terra Australis :


here is an interesting map of S.E. Asia from Linschoten in 1596 (North to the left) :

On the far right (southernmost) is a curious land marked 'Beach', three centuries after Marco Polo referred to Locach.



At the start of the 1600s, there is general belief in a southern continent, but little detail is known.

Portugal is fading as a sea power, but the Dutch are blooming.

Meanwhile, here is an impressive Chinese map of 1602 :

Northern Australia and Tierra Del Fuego still mistakenly make for a whole huge continent.


Jansz, First European

The first recorded European to land on Australia was Willem Jansz (or Janszoon) who sailed south from New Guinea, missed Torres Straight, but found the west coast of Queensland :

His ship was the Duyfken (Little Dove), and here is a modern replica :

Below is a 1670 copy of the original 1606 map made on the journey of the Duyfken :

On the lower right, marked 'Nova Guinea', is part of the West coast of Queensland, the first accurate mapping of Australia.



A few weeks later, Luis de Torres came from east to west through the straight that now bears his name :

Torres missed Australia entirely. The action now moves to the west of Australia.


Dirk Hartog

In 1616 Dutch sailor Dirk Hartog touched land at a place now called Point Inscription, on an island now called Dirk Hartog's Island.

He named the new land after his ship the Eendracht, calling it 'Eendrachtland' - which means Land of Unity.

It is called Point Inscription because Dirk Hartog left an inscription carved into a pewter plate attached to a wooden pole on a prominent hill at the very tip of that salient island.

Dirk Hartog's plate looks like this :

The text is shown here :


Shortly afterwards, in 1619, Frederick Houtman in the Dordrecht saw land near the current Perth - he named it d'Edel's Land after the senior VOC official onboard. Houtman identified this land with Marco Polo's Beach or Locach.


Information about Australia reaches Europe, and in 1622 Hessel Gerritz produces the first map including Jansz's discoveries in Australia (still called New Guinea) :


Also in 1622 the Leeuwin (Lioness) discovered the S.W. corner of Australia. Very little is known of this voyage, all that survives is the name - Point Leeuwin.


A world map from 1626 by Jacques l'Hermite (why does a hermit make maps?) shows Australia as a few un-connected places :


 to Part V - West North and South

 back to Europeans Discover Australia


by Kapyong


 Return Home.

Legal: The author Kapyong asserts all rights under all applicable laws.

Readers MAY reproduce parts of this work PROVIDED attribution is given to Kapyong AND a link to this page is given.