The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 186 pages of information about The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765.

[* See No.  XXI (p. 54) below.]

[** See, however, No.  XXI., C. infra.]

In Gerritsz’s chart of 1627, as well as in the so-called 1618 one, we are struck by the fact, that on the west-coast the coast-line shows breaks in various places:  De Witt’s land is not connected with the coast of Willems-rivier; the coast-line of Eendrachtsland does not run on; there is uncertainty as regards what is now called Shark-bay; the coast facing Houtmans Abrolhos is a conjectural one only; the coast-line facing Tortelduyf is even altogether wanting; Dedelsland and ’t Land van de Leeuwin are not marked by unbroken lines.  This fragmentary knowledge sufficiently accounts for the fact, that about the middle of the seventeenth century navigators were constantly faced by the problem of the real character of the South-land:  was it one vast continent or a complex of islands?  And the question would not have been so repeatedly asked, if the line of the west-coast had been more accurately known.

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Tasman and Visscher [*] did a great deal towards the solution of this problem, since in their voyage of 1644 they also skirted and mapped out the entire line of the West-coast of what since 1644 has borne the name of Nieuw-Nederland, Nova Hollandia, or New Holland, from Bathurst Island to a point south of the Tropic of Capricorn.  In this case also certain mistakes were committed:  they failed, for instance, to recognise the real character of Bathurst Island, which, like Melville Island, they looked upon as forming part of the mainland; but if we make due allowance for the imperfection of their means of observation, we are bound to say that the coast-line has by them been mapped out with remarkable accuracy [**].

[* I pass by certain other exploratory voyages on the westcoast (see e.g.  No.  XXIV. infra, etc.).]

[** Cf.  Tasman’s chart of 1644 in the Tasman Folio.]

About fifteen years after the west-coast was more accurately mapped out also, to the south of the tropic of Capricorn.  In the year 1658 Samuel Volekersen with the ship de Wakende Boei [Floating Buoy], and Aucke Pieters Jonck with the ship Emeloord surveyed a portion of the west-coast, and the charts then made have been preserved [*].  The coast-line from a point near the Tortelduyf down to past Rottenest (the large island on which Volkertsen did not confer a name, preferring to “leave the naming to the pleasure of the Hon. Lord Governor-General”) and the present Perth, were surveyed with special care.  In the same year the ship Elburg, commanded by Jacob Peereboom, brought in further reports about the Land van de Leeuwin, where she had been at anchor “in Lat. 33 deg. 14’ South, under a projecting point” (in Geographe Bay?).

[* See infra No.  XXIX., pp. 75 ff., and the charts sub No.  XXIX.  E, F and I.]

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