17 September, 2007

Portuguese Discovery of Australia in 1522


In Beyond Capricorn, Peter Trickett challenges the commonly held view that the European discovery of Australia and New Zealand was made first by the Dutch, followed later by Britain’s Captain James Cook. Trickett argues the remarkable claim that in the year 1522 – a century before the Dutch and 250 years before Captain Cook - the Portuguese sailed past Fraser Island and into Botany Bay, around Wilson’s Promontory, and as far as Kangaroo Island before returning to their base in Malacca via the North Island of New Zealand.

Drawing from primary and secondary historical sources, archaeological evidence and stories handed down through Aboriginal oral tradition, Peter Trickett tells a story of espionage, revenge and secret voyages made by the Portuguese to corner the fabulously rich spice trade in the east and find the islands of gold alluded to by Marco Polo. Secret voyages that resulted in the discovery of Australia and New Zealand almost 500 years ago.

Beyond Capricorn is a compelling account of how for a brief moment in the 1520s Australia and New Zealand came close to becoming Portuguese outposts in the southern seas.

About the Author

A journalist by profession, Peter Trickett has written for newspapers and magazines in Australia, New Zealand and Britain, specialising in science, historical and investigative reporting.

While working as a science journalist in Oxford, England, he won a national travelling fellowship for science journalism, using this award to study and write on science and environmental topics in Japan.

In New Zealand, where he worked as a senior writer with the New Zealand Herald and the Listener magazine, he won awards for historical journalism. Since coming to Australia in 1982 he has worked as an editor for the Australian National University in Canberra and as a Senior Officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he was a writer and editor for the Australian Government’s overseas aid program.

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