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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765.

[* A curiously subjective way of looking at things!]

The land between 13 deg. and 17 deg. 8’ is a barren and arid tract, without any fruit-trees, and producing nothing fit for the use of man; it is low-lying and flat without hills or mountains; in many places overgrown with brushwood and stunted wild trees; it has not much fresh water, and what little there is, has to be collected in pits dug for the purpose; there is an utter absence of bays or inlets, with the exception of a few bights not sheltered from the sea-wind; it extends mainly N. by E. and S. by W., with shallows all along the coast, with a clayey and sandy bottom; it has numerous salt rivers extending into the interior, across which the natives drag their wives and children by means of dry sticks or boughs of trees.  The natives are in general utter barbarians, all resembling each other in shape and features, coal-black, and with twisted nets wound round their heads and necks for keeping their food in; so far as we could make out, they chiefly live on certain ill-smelling roots which they dig out of the earth.  We infer that during the eastern monsoon they live mainly on the beach, since we have there seen numerous small huts made of dry grass; we also saw great numbers of dogs, herons and curlews, and other wild fowl, together with plenty of excellent fish, easily caught with a seine-net; they are utterly unacquainted with gold, silver, tin, iron, lead and copper, nor do they know anything about nutmegs, cloves and pepper, all of which spices we repeatedly showed them without their evincing any signs of {Page 42} recognising or valuing the same; from all which together with the rest of our observations it may safely be concluded that they are poor and abject wretches, caring mainly for bits of iron and strings of beads.  Their weapons are shields, assagays, and callaways of the length of 11/2 fathom, made of light wood and cane, some with fish-bones and others with human bones fastened to their tops; they are very expert in throwing the said weapons by means of a piece of wood, half a fathom in length, with a small hook tied to it in front, which they place upon the top of the callaway or assagay.

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(The Waterplaets is in 12 degrees 33 minutes Lat.)

In the morning of the 9th, the wind being E.S.E., with good weather, we set sail on a N.N.E. course along the land, and when we had run on for 2 miles, came to anchor in 9 fathom close inshore; I went ashore in person with ten musketeers, and found many footprints of men and of large dogs, going in a southerly direction., we also came upon fresh water flowing into the sea, and named the place de Waeterplaets.  The land here is higher than what we have seen to southward, and there are numerous reefs close to the sandy beach; the place is in 12 deg. 33’; in the afternoon the wind was S.W., course held as before; from the Waterplaets aforesaid to a high cape there is a large bay, extending N.E. by N. and S.W. by S. for 7 miles; in the evening we dropped anchor in 41/2 fathom.

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The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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