05 August, 2005

explorer's journals

In March1606 Willem Janszoon, on board the Duyfken, charted about 300 km of the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. He is the first authenticated discoverer of Australia. From that time many seafarers made contact with the Australian coast including Torres, Hartog, Pelsaert, DAmpier and Cook.

From the landing of the first fleet in 1788, the "new" inhabitants of Australia were desperate to know what lay beyond the mountains which rose about 50 kilometres inland from the coast and which formed a seeminly impenetrable barrier to exploration of the continent. Gradually the map of the inland of the continent was drawn, first with the discovery, by Blaxland Lawson and Wentworth, of a way across the Blue Mountains, and then by men such as Sturt, Oxley, Eyre, Stuart, Giles, Leichhardt, and Burke and Wills. The outline of the continent was mapped by navigators including Cook, Flinders, King and Stokes.

We have here at Project Gutenberg of Australia, in ebook form, one of the most comprehensive collections in the world of the journals of Australian explorers. Furthermore, the 'HTML' versions contain the illustrations which were included in the original publications. Click on the explorer's name to see an image of the explorer, biographical information, and a sketch map of the routes travelled.


Bligh's account of the Mutiny on the Bounty

Just before sun-rising, while I was yet asleep, Mr. Christian, with the master at arms, gunner's mate, and Thomas Burkitt, seaman, came into my cabin, and seizing me tied my hands with a cord behind my back, threatening me with instant death if I spoke or made the least noise: I however called as loud as I could in hopes of assistance; but they had already secured the officers who were not of their party by placing sentinels at their doors. There were three men at my cabin door besides the four within; Christian had only a cutlass in his hand, the others had muskets and bayonets. I was hauled out of bed and forced on deck in my shirt, suffering great pain from the tightness which with they had tied my hands. I demanded the reason of such violence but received no other answer than abuse for not holding my tongue. The master, the gunner, the surgeon, Mr. Elphinstone, master's mate, and Nelson, were kept confined below; and the fore hatchway was guarded by sentinels.

an extensive list of australian literature

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