Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier eBook

John Pinkerton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 151 pages of information about Early Australian Voyages.

On the 19th of December, these savages began to grow a little bolder, and more familiar, insomuch that at last they ventured on board the Heemskirk in order to trade with those in the vessel.  As soon as I perceived it, being apprehensive that they might attempt to surprise that ship, I sent my shallop, with seven men, to put the people in the Heemskirk upon their guard, and to direct them not to place any confidence in those people.  My seven men, being without arms, were attacked by these savages, who killed three of the seven, and forced the other four to swim for their lives, which occasioned my giving that place the name of the Bay of Murderers.  Our ship’s company would, undoubtedly, have taken a severe revenge, if the rough weather had not hindered them.  From this bay we bore away east, having the land in a manner all round us.  This country appeared to us rich, fertile, and very well situated, but as the weather was very foul, and we had at this time a very strong west wind, we found it very difficult to get clear of the land.


On the 24th of December, as the wind would not permit us to continue our way to the north, as we knew not whether we should be able to find a passage on that side, and as the flood came in from the south-east, we concluded that it would be the best to return into the bay, and seek some other way out, but on the 26th, the wind becoming more favourable, we continued our route to the north, turning a little to the west.  On the 4th of January, 1643, being then in the latitude of 34 degrees 35 minutes south, and in the longitude of 191 degrees 9 minutes, we sailed quite to the cape, which lies north-west, where we found the sea rolling in from the north-east, whence we concluded that we had at last found a passage, which gave us no small joy.  There was in this strait an island, which we called the island of the Three Kings; the cape of which we doubled, with a design to have refreshed ourselves; but, as we approached it, we perceived on the mountain thirty or five-and-thirty persons, who, as far as we could discern at such a distance, were men of very large size, and had each of them a large club in his hand:  they called out to us in a rough strong voice, but we could meet understand anything of what they said.  We observed that these people walked at a very great rate, and that they took prodigious large strides.  We made the tour of the island, in doing which we saw but very few inhabitants; nor did any of the country seem to be cultivated; we found, indeed, a fresh-water river, and then we resolved to sail east, as far as 220 degrees of longitude; and from thence north, as far as the latitude of 17 degrees south; and thence to the west, till we arrived at the isles of Cocos and Horne, which were discovered by William Schovten, where we intended to refresh ourselves, in case we found no opportunity of doing it before, for though we had actually landed on Van Diemen’s Land, we met with nothing there; and, as for New Zealand, we never set foot on it.

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Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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