Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership

Title:      Discovery of Australia by de Quiros in the Year 1606
Author:     Patrick F. Cardinal Moran, Archbishop of Sydney.
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.:  0600641.txt
Edition:    1
Language:   English
Character set encoding:     Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit
Date first posted:          May 2006
Date most recently updated: May 2006

This eBook was produced by: Col Choat and Bob orsyth

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at

To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to

Title:      Discovery of Australia by de Quiros in the Year 1606
Author:     Patrick F. Cardinal Moran, Archbishop of Sydney.

Pedro Fernandez de Quiros was the least of the brilliant galaxy of
Portuguese and Spanish explorers who throughout two centuries, by their
maritime skill and enterprise, won immortal fame for their respective
countries, and extended far, to the east and to the west the limits of
Christian civilisation. He was a Portuguese by birth, but at the period
of which we treat Portugal and Spain were united under the Spanish
sceptre, and hence it was under the Spanish flag and by the aid of the
Spanish court that he achieved his discoveries.

The most famous or his expeditions was that which led to the discovery of
the Great Austral Land in 1606. The original sources, however, which
would serve to illustrate this expedition were little better than a
sealed book to English readers, till Mr. W. A. Duncan, Fellow of St.
John's College, published in Sydney, in 1874, the Spanish text and
translation of an interesting Memorial, addressed by De Quiros to the
Spanish monarch. A few years later Don Zaragosa, a distinguished Spanish
ecclesiastic, published at Madrid in three volumes the same Memorial,
together with several other invaluable con-temporary documents
illustrative of De Quiros's voyage. The learned president of the Hakluyt
Society, Sir Clements Markham, has published in two volumes in London,
for the Hakluyt Society, in 1904, a translation of these important
records, with a valuable introduction and several interesting notes.

Till within the last few years the opinion very generally prevailed that
the Island of Santo, the chief island of the New Hebrides, was the Great
Land discovered by De Quiros. In the History of the Catholic Church in
Australia I ventured to dissent from that opinion, and since then several
papers bearing on the subject have appeared in the public press and in
the Proceedings of the Geographical Society of Melbourne.

{Page 2}

I propose in the present discourse to submit the claims of Australia to be
the Great Southern Land thus discovered it 1606 by De Quiros, and the
better to proceed with order in the inquiry, my remarks will be comprised
under the following heads:--

I. I will present to you from the original narratives some extracts
descriptive of the Great Southern Land which was discovered by the
Spanish explorer.

II. It will readily be seen that the data furnished by these extracts are
inconsistent with the claim of the Island of Santo to be that
newly-discovered land.

III. On the other hand these data are found to accurately fit in with the
claim of Port Curtis and the adjoining Queens-land coast.

IV. Some arguments shall be considered that seem to favour the Island of
Santo's claim.

V. The difficulties will be solved that are advanced against the
Australian claim.

VI. We will thus be free to conclude by presenting some interesting
details of the expedition of De Quiros and of the festivities with which
he and his companions inaugurated the discovery of this Australian


1. I will take my first extracts from the 8th Memorial presented by De
Quiros to the Spanish King in 1607, published by Sir Clements Markham. De
Quiros thus writes (IL, 478):--

"The greatness of the land newly discovered, judging from what I saw, and
from what the captain, Don Luiz Vaez de Torres, the Admiral under my
command, reported to your Majesty, is well established. Its length is as
much as all Europe and Asia Minor as far as the Caspian and Persia, with
all the islands of the Mediterranean and the ocean which en-compasses,
including the two islands of England and Ireland. That hidden part is'
one-fourth of the world, and of such capacity that double the kingdoms
and provinces of which your Majesty is at present the Lord could fit
into it, and this without any neighbourhood of Turks or Moors, or others
of the nations which are prone to cause disquiet and unrest on their

He represents the discovered lands to be "antipodal to the greater part
of Africa, to all Europe, and to greater Asia. The houses are of wood,
roofed with palm leaves. They use pots

{Page 3}

of clay, weave cloths, and have clothing and mats of reed. They work
Stone marble, and make flutes, drums, and spoons of varnished wood." (Sir
Clements Markham has stone and marble, but there is no "and" in the
original text, p. 480.) "The bread they have is made from three kinds
of roots, of which there is great abundance, and they grow without
labour, receiving no more help than being dug up and cooked. These roots
are pleasant to the taste, very nourishing, and keep for a long time.
They are a yard long and half a yard thick. The fruits are numerous and
good. There are bananas of six kinds, a great number of almonds of four
kinds, great obos, which are of the size and taste of peaches, many
earth-nuts, oranges and lemons, which the natives do not eat, and another
great fruit; and others not less good that were seen and eaten, as well
as many and very large sweet canes. The riches are silver and pearls
which I myself saw, and gold which was seen by the other Captain, as he
says in his report...They have goats, and there were indications of
cows...I declare that all that was seen and has been described is on the
sea shore; so that it may be hoped that in the heart of the country such
and so great riches will be found as are foreshadowed by what has already
been seen. It is to be observed that my chief object was only to seek for
the great land that 1 found...The comfort and pleasant life in such a
land might be increased by the cultivation of its black, rich soil, by
the erection of brick houses, by proper clothing, by working the marble
quarries from which sumptuous and elegant edifices could be raised, and a
land in which there is an abundance of timber for all sorts of work;
where there are sites of plains, valleys and ridges, undulations, high
mountains and thickets; and in which there are murmuring streams and
springs; where might be erected any number of wind-mills, water-mills,
sugar-mills, and other water engines; salt pits and sugar plantations.
The sugar-canes, which grow to five or six palms and under, and the fruit
in proportion, are witnesses of the richness of the soil. A slender, hard
and smooth stone makes as good flints as can be, had in Madrid. The Bay
of SS. Philip and James contains 20 leagues (60 miles) of shore, and is
quite limpid, and is free to enter by day or night; it is surrounded by a
large population; at a very great distance is seen by day much smoke, and
at night many fires. The port of Vera Cruz (Holy Cross) is so

{Page 4}

capacious that it would contain at anchor 1000 ships. Us bottom is clear,
and consists of dark sand. The worm that is so destructive to ships was
not seen. Ships may be anchored at any depth from 4 to 4 fathoms, midway
between two rivers, one of them (the Jordan) as large as the
Guadalquivir, in Seville, with a bar of more than two fathoms, which
frigates and patamars may cross. Our barques entered the other river
freely, and took in fresh water, which is delicious in whatever part, out
of the numerous streams there are, The landing place extends for three
leagues and more on a strand of black pebbles, small and heavy, which
would be very good for ships' ballast. The coast contains neither ruins
nor rocks; the herbs on its banks are green; you hear not the sound of
the tide; and as the trees are straight and not torn, I conclude there
are no great tempests in that land. Moreover, this port, besides being so
airy and pleasant,%has another great excellence for recreation, that.
from the break of dawn you hear a very great army of warbling birds, some
having the appearance of nightingales, larks, goldfinches,'and an
infinity of swallows, parroquets, and a coloured parrot that was seen,
besides a great many other birds of different kinds, and the shrill note
of the locusts and grasshoppers. At morning and evening the sweetest
smells are enjoyed from many kinds of flowers, among which are the orange
and lemon blossoms; and I consider that all these and other effects are
due to the excellence and regularity of the climate. At this port and bay
are many excellent islands, several of which may be especially mentioned
which subtend 200 leagues. One of them, about 12 leagues distant, is 50
leagues in circumference, and is very fertile and populous. And in
conclusion, Sire, I say that in that bay and port a large and populous
city may be built, and the people who will inhabit it may readily enjoy
all riches and conveniences which, my small ability does not enable me to
set forth. I do not exaggerate if I say that it can maintain and
accommodate 200,000 Spaniards."

He further adds: "The temperature and salubrity of the air is seen in all
that has been said, and in this, that we all being strangers, none fell
ill during a time of working, sweating, and being wet through, without
care about drinking water while fasting, nor about eating whatever the
land produced, nor by the dew or sun or moon. The sun was not very hot

{Page 5}

by day, and from midnight onwards woollen clothes were sought, and very
well suffered to be worn. The natives as a rule are strong and stout.
Some are very old."

2. In a further Memorial presented to the King in 1601, he styles the
land he had discovered a great land, "its double range of mountains and
the River Jordan from its size appear to furnish evidence of the great
extent of the land." Besides Europe, Asia and Africa, there are only two
great portions of the earth: "The first is America, which Christoval
'Colon discovered; the second and last of the world is that which I have
seen, and solicit to people, and completely to discover for your

He wishes it to be added to the royal realms "with the grand title of
Australia del Espiritu Santo."

He ends: "If his suspicions led Christopher Columbus to complain, for me,
what I saw, what I felt, and what I offer, makes me importunate."

3. One of the most interesting documents published by Zaragosa and
Markham is a History of the Voyages of De Quires compiled from his
diaries by his secretary, Belmonte Bermudez, but signed and authenticated
by De Quiros himself. From this narrative I glean the following

On the 3rd of May, 1606, "the three vessels anchored in the Dort with
great joy, giving many thanks to God...The Master of the Camp was sent to
examine the mouth of the river, which is in the middle of the bay, with
the launch, a boat and a party of men. He tried the depth of the river
mouth, and found that there was no bottom, with the length of, an oar and
his own arm. He went further up in the boat, and the view of the river
gave much pleasure to those who were with him, as well for its size and
the clearness of the water as for its gentle current and the beauty of
the trees on its banks."

They landed and found a small village; "they also found a flute, and
certain small things worked out of pieces of marble and jasper...The bay
has a circuit of 20 leagues, at the entrance four leagues across...In the
middle there is a river, which was judged to be the size of the
Guadalquivir at Seville. At its mouth the depth is two and more fathoms;
so that boats and even frigates could enter. It received the name of
the Jordan. On its right is seen the Southern Cross

{Page 6}

by day, and from midnight onwards woollen clothes were sought, and very
well suffered to be worn. The natives as a rule are strong and stout.
Some are very old."

2. In a further Memorial presented to the King in 1601, he styles the
land he had discovered a great land, "its double range of mountains and
the River Jordan from its size appear to furnish evidence of the great.
extent of the land." Besides Europe, Asia and Africa, there are only two
great portions of the earth: "The first is America, which Christoval
Colon discovered; the second and last of the world is that which I have
seen, and solicit to people, and completely to discover for your

He wishes it to be added to the royal realms "with the grand title of
Australia del Espiritu Santo."

He ends: "If his suspicions led Christopher Columbus to complain, for me,
what I saw, what I felt, and what I offer, makes me importunate."

3. One of the most interesting documents published by Zaragosa and
Markham is a history of the Voyages of De Quiros compiled from his
diaries by his secretary, Belmonte Bermudez, but signed and authenticated
by De Quiros himself. From this narrative I glean the following

On the 3rd of May, 1606, "the three vessels anchored in the port with
great joy, giving many thanks to God...The Master of the Camp was sent to
examine the mouth of the river, which is in the middle of the bay, with
the launch, a boat and a party of men. He tried the depth of the river
mouth, and found that there was no bottom, with the length of an oar and
his own arm. He went further up in the boat, and the view of the river
gave much pleasure to those who were with him, as well for its size and
the clearness of the water as for its gentle current and the beauty of
the trees on its banks."

They landed and found a small village; "they also found a flute, and
certain small things worked out of pieces of marble and jasper...The bay
has a circuit of 20 leagues, at the entrance four leagues across...In tie
middle there is a river, which was judged to be the size of the
Guadalquivir at Seville. At its mouth the depth is two and more fathoms;
so that boats and even frigates could enter. It received the name of
the Jordan. On its right is seen the Southern Cross

{Page 7}

in the heavens, which makes the spot noteworthy. To the eastward, at the
corner of the bay, there is another moderate-sized river called Salvador,
into which the boats entered at their pleasure to get water. The waters
of both rivers are sweet, pleasant and fresh. The one is distant from the
other a league and a half, consisting of a beach of black gravel, with
small heavy stones, excellent for ballast for a ship. Between the two
rivers is the port. The bread they use is mainly of roots...The rind is
grey, the Pulp murrey colour, yellow, or reddish; some much larger than
others (yarns). There are some a yard and a half in thickness, also two
kinds; one almost round, and the size of two fists, more or less. Their
taste resembles the potatoes of Peru. The inside of the other is white,
its form and size that of a cob of maize when stripped.

Our people ate a great deal; and being of a pleasant taste and
satisfying, they left off the ship's biscuit for them. These roots last
so long without getting bad, that on reaching Acapulco those that were
left were quite good. We heard, when on board at early dawn, a sweet
harmony from thousands of different birds, apparently buntings,
blackbirds, nightingales, and others. The mornings and afternoons were
enjoy-able from the pleasant odours emitted from trees and many kinds of
flowers, together with the sweet basil. A bee was also seen, and harvest
flies were heard buzzing.

"The climate appeared to be very healthy, both from the vigour and size
of the natives, as because none of our men be-came ill all the time we
were there, nor felt any discomfort, nor tired from work...I am, able to
say with good reason that a land more delightful, healthy and fertile; a
site better supplied with quarries, timber, clay for tiles, bricks for
founding a great city-on the sea, with a port and a good river on a
plain, with level lands near the hills, ridges, and ravines; nor better
adapted to raise plants and all that Europe and the Indies produce, could
not be found. No port could be found more agreeable, nor better supplied
with all necessaries, with-out any drawbacks, nor with such advantages
for dockyards in which to build ships, nor forests more abundant in
suitable timber good for futtock timbers, houses, compass timbers, beams,
planks, and yards, Nor is there any other land that could sustain so many
strangers so pleasantly, if what has been written is well considered. Nor
does any other land have what this

{Page 7}

land has close by, at hand, and in sight of its port; for quite near
there are seven islands, with coasts extending for 200 leagues,
apparently with the same advantages, and which have so many, and such
good signs, that they may be sought for and found without shoals or other
obstacles, while nearly half-way there are other known islands, with
inhabitants and ports where anchorages may be found. I have never seen,
anywhere where I have been, nor have heard of such adavantages...

If we look round the coast of Spain, so good a port will not be
found...It is to be noted that a cross, which had been left on the banks
of the river Salvador, was found raised in its place, and that the
natives had put branches and flowers round it."

He further writes that having come out from the port for departure "owing
to the force of the wind, the ship, having little sail on, and her head
E.X.E., lost ground to such an extent that we found ourselves 20 leagues
to leeward of the port, all looking at those high mountains with sorrow
at not being able to get near them."

On their return to the port of Acapulco (in Mexico), the cross of orange
wood was presented to the Church of the Franciscans. It was on the 8th of
December; feast of the Int. Conception, that the captain, "with the
greatest solemnity possible, took the cross from the ship to the sea
shore and delivered it to the Father Guardian." It was fastened to the
high altar, and to mark the occasion there was "ringing of bells, sound
of trumpets, and discharge of guns and arquebuses and muskets by the
soldiers. All the people showed their joy; and not less did the captain,
although he desired to go to Rome and put this cross in the hands of the
Pontiff, and tell him that it was the first that had been raised in
those new lands in the name of the Catholic Church."

4. De Torres, who was second in command of the expedition of De Quiros,
addressed a letter to the King in 1607, giving some account of the voyage
and of its various incidents.

Of the Bay he writes: "This Bay is very refreshing, and in it fall many
and large rivers. In circuit it is 25 leagues. We named it the Bay de San
Felipe y Santiago, and the land that of Espiritu Santo...At length we
sailed from this bay, in conformity to the order, although with
intention, to sail, round this island; but the season and the strong
currents would

{Page 8}

not allow this, although I ran, along a great part of it. In what I saw.
there are very large mountains. It has many ports, though some of them
are small., All of it is well watered with rivers. We had at this time
nothing but bread and water: it was the height of winter, with sea, wind,
and ill-will (of the crew) against us. All this did not prevent me
reaching the mentioned latitude (30 deg. S.), which I passed one degree,
and would have gone further if the weather had permitted; for the ship
was good...Going into the said latitude on a. S.W. course, we had no
signs of land that way. From thence I stood back to the N.W. to 11 1/2 S.
Latitude; there we fell in with the beginning of N. Guinea. I could not
weather the E. point, so I coasted along to the westward on the S.

5. We have also the diary of Gaspar de Leza, who was Chief Pilot of the
expedition, and whose shrewd incidental remarks are particularly
interesting. He writes that the Bay "received the names of St. Philip and
St. James, the 1st of May, the day of discovery, being the day of those
apostles. The bay is very large and beautiful, and all the fleets of the
world might enter it."

2nd May. The General said: "that there were signs of great things in
that bay; for although we had been two days within it, we had not yet
seen the end of it, because it was so large."

4th May. "At two in the afternoon our General went, with the two boats
and an armed party, to see the river. Coasting along it was seen that
there were many streams flowing from a beautiful plain, on which cities
might be built, for it must have been ten leagues in extent. In another
part there were many hills, high and low, with beautiful plains. In most
of those hills, except the main range, one might ride on horse-back over

5th May. "Our boat went further along the coast and discovered another
river, which flows very grandly over the plain, so that frigates could go
up to it. This river flows into the middle of the bay, about a league
from the other where we were anchored, and there were several streams."

8th May. "Our tender went to examine the coast, and reported that they
had coasted along and had seen beautiful plains and rivers that fell
into the sea, and that all was well peopled by natives, who came out on
the beach to see them.

{Page 9}

They seemed to, cover the land, for up to the mountain tops all was
inhabited. The land is so fertile that it yields plenty of food, and it
is so fresh that it obliges a man to cover him-self with a blanket, a
state of things to which we were not at all accustomed."

10th May. "We returned to the shore, and, marching in-land, came to their
houses, finding them abandoned. From the sea, by the inland forest, the
distance is about half a league. Round the houses were many fruit trees,
with inter-twined palisades, by reason of the great quantity of pigs. All
was very well arranged, the houses and yards being very clean. We found
many fruits and trees of different sorts...The road is very clean and
well shaded, and there are beautiful streams of water. From midnight
until morning there is a pleasant coolness, which makes a blanket

11th May. "We found ballast as good as that of Callao, and just like it,
consisting of small pebbles."

14th May. Feasts of Pentecost. He gives the names of the municipality and
officers appointed for the new city to be founded.

17th May. "We climbed up a high mountain very silently, and from the top
we discovered a beautiful plain. On descending to it we found much nutmeg
and almonds of a different kind, for the rind smells like an apple, and
another fruit with smell and taste like a nectarine. Of all these fruits
the woods were full, and there is scarcely a tree in all this land that
is not of some use, so that here one might live in great luxury."

19th May. "This day in the morning, and the day before at" night, there
were great tremblings of the earth, some of them lasting an hour, and we
felt them on board our ships, as if they were bumping on some rock. From
this we concluded that where there are such great earthquakes it must be
the mainland, as it also seemed from the mountain ranges. As soon as we
came on board, our General wanted a party to go and fish at the great
river, to which the name of Jordan was given. The river whence we got the
water was named Salvador."

20th May. We went to the river Jordan, which is two leagues from the
port where the ships were at anchor...Our people found great quantities
of fruit trees, and much food with which these natives are well supplied.
Great quantities

{Page 10}

of fish were caught. Ships might enter this river, if they were built
like the frigates of Carthagena."

28th May. "We started in the morning, coasting along the land to windward,
that is, to S.E. and E.S.F., to make out for certain whether it was the

29th May. "On account of many of the crews being sick (from eating
poisoned fish) they returned to the bay. This was at 7 o'clock in the
morning, and by 4 o'clock in the after-noon the ships had anchored. This
was good luck, for the distance from the entrance to the bay to the
anchorage is six or seven leagues, and the first time we were three days
working up the

June 5th. "We were ready to start next day to examine 200 or 300 leagues
of coast, surveying all, laying down positions of ports and anchorages,
with soundings, rocks and banks, and latitudes."

6. Torquemada, who was Provincial of the Franciscans in Mexico, and
derived his information from De Quiros and the chaplains of the
expedition, published in 1614 a lengthened account of the celebrated
voyage. He attests that the boats brought the report of "a very wide hay,
sheltered from all winds...The captain and pilot, having heard the report
on this bay, and of another great bay to leeward, ordered sail to be set;
and so they proceeded, with no small joy.\ Ail had now been accomplished
according to their desires, holding in their hands the most abundant and
powerful land ever discovered by Spaniards...Presently the boat went to
seek a convenient port, and brought news that there was one with
soundings from four to six fathoms, all sand and clean, between the
mouths of two rivers...As it was late they waited for another day, the
3rd of May, when they anchored, calling the port La Vera Cruz, and the
land La Austral del Espiritu Santo."

"The port is between two rivers, and they gave one the name of Jordan,
and the other the name of Salvador. Their banks are of no small beauty,
for they are full of sweet flowers and herbs. The beaches of this bay are
wide, long and flat.

In all parts facing the sea there are cool and pleasant groves extending
to the sides of numerous hills, and even to the summit of one which was
ascended by our people. These dills divide most fertile level valleys,
which are picturesque,

{Page 11}

while the green bills are traversed by various rivers. The whole is a
land which, without any doubt, has the advantage of America and of the
greater part of our Europe." He further assigns the circuit of the Bay as
27 leagues, and the en-trance as having an expanse of eight leagues.

7. One of the most interesting records connected with tile ?e Quiros
expedition is the manorial of Juan Luis Arias, a lawyer of Santiago in
Chile, addressed to King Philip III. of Spain. He derived his
information from the Franciscan Fathers who accompanied the expedition,
and his memorial was written soon after the death of De Quires in 1615.
He styles the newly discovered land "the Austral hemisphere," and he
describes the harbour in which De Quiros landed as a magnificent expanse
of water. "The land on the side that he first came upon ran from E. to W.
It appeared to be more than 100 leagues (300 miles) long; the country was
very populous, and although the people were dark, they were very
well-favoured. There wore also many plantations of trees, and the
temperature was so mild that they seemed to be in Paradise: the air also
was so healthy that in a few days after they arrived all the men who were
sick recovered. The land

produced most abundantly many kinds of very delicious fruits, as well as
animals and birds in great variety. The bay was no less abundant in fish
of excellent flavour and of all the kinds

which are found on the coast of the sea in Spain. The natives ate for
bread certain roots like the batata (the yam), either roasted or boiled,
which, when the Spaniards tasted, they found them better eating and more
sustaining than biscuit."

He subsequently states that De Quiros reached the 26 deg. of S. Latitude,
and adds: "The land of the Bay of San Felipe y Santiago showed very great
signs of its being the coast of the southern continent; as much by its
great extent as by there being visible from it, looming at a great
distance, cordilleras of very lofty mountains, of very agreeable aspect;
and by the fact of two rivers falling into the bay, one as large as the
Guadalquivir, and the other not quite as broad; all signs of a continent,
or at least of a very spacious and deep country approaching to a


The data which these extracts present cannot be reconciled with the
Island of Santo's claims.

{Page 12}

1. The dimensions of Santo are given by Findlay in his "South Pacific
Ocean Directory," published for the Admiralty in London in 1884. The
Island of Santo, he tells us, is 65 miles in its greatest length, and
about half that extent in its greatest width. Sir Clements Markham, in
his Introduction, writes that Santo has a big bay, but is a small island.
Some time ago one of our Sydney morning newspapers published a letter
from a Protestant missionary, in which, he described his excursion across
the island from shore to shore in one day.

Now it is quite absurd to suppose that expert explorers such as De
Quiros and his companions were would be stationed at Santo for 36 days,
and some of them for an additional term of 15 days, without their
realising how limited was its extent. They describe the discovered land
as of vast expanse, larger than Europe, even with Asia Minor and the
Mediterranean added to it. One of its valleys that was spread out before
them was 10 leagues (that is, 30 miles) in extent. They sailed along the
coast for 100 leagues (300 miles), and felt assured, by its many rivers
and well-sheltered ports, and by the splendid cordilleras that were seen
in the distance, that they had alighted upon a vast continent. No rivers
as are described in the ex-tracts can be found in Santo.

2. The Island of Santo is proud of its "big bay," but even this cannot
be said to bear any proportion to the vast bay of SS. Philip and James,
which was entered by De Quiros on 1st of May in 1606. The bay thus
discovered was 20 leagues (60 miles) in length, and, according to De
Torres, it was 25 leagues (75 miles) in circuit. One of the narratives
gives it a circuit of 27 leagues, that would be 81 miles. The entrance to
the Bay had an extent of eight leagues (24 miles), and at the entrance to
the port it was four leagues (12 miles) broad. The pilot enthusiastically
cries out that all the ships of the world would find room in that
magnificent bay. How different are the proportions which Santo's bay
presents! Findlay writes (p. 748) that the circuit of the bay of Santo is
"about 36 miles." Sir Clements Markham (I. 273) inserts a report on the
bay by Dr. Corney, a member of the Hakluyt Society, who visited it in
1876. He writes: "The depth or extent of the bay itself, from its chord
formed by the imaginary E. and W. line drawn

{Page 13}

through Cape Quiros, seemed to me about a dozen miles, and it is of
similar width."

Mr. Panton, presiding at a meeting of the Geographical Society of
Melbourne (Vol. xix., p. 80) in 1901, gave some. further details: "I have
this day had the pleasure of meeting with the Rev. Mr. Paton, the
well-known missionary of the New Hebrides, who, during 42 years'
residence in that group, had often visited Santo. He informed me that the
bay is 10 miles in depth, and about four or five miles across at the
en-trance; that it is surrounded by wooded hills; that no distant sierra
is to be seen from it; and that the one small river running into the Bay
is named by the natives Yeor."

The bay discovered by De Quiros afforded safe anchorage, was "limpid and
free to enter by day or by night," and was free from hurricanes. In Dr.
Corney's description of Santo Bay (I. 274) we read: "The west shore of
this bay rises steeply from the water throughout most of its extent...The
anchorage, is not exposed either from E.N.E. or E.S.E., but from N.W. to
N. and N.E. it is unsafe. Findlay writes of Santo Bay (p. 749): "The
approach to Santo is not without its dangers...Hurricanes prevail during
the whole of the wet season."

The discovered bay in its wide expanse faced the East, extending from N.
to S. On the contrary, Santo Bay faces the north, extending from W. to E.

3. De Quiros particularly refers to the two rivers which flow into the
bay, adjoining the port, the one as large as the Guadalquivir at
Seville, the other not so large; both navigable, not to boats only, but
to light frigates. Now at Santo there are several streams, but only one
river. In the passage already cited by Mr. Panton, the Protestant
missionary attests that there is but "one small river running into the
bay." A Scotch planter of the New Hebrides, who was shipwrecked at Santo,
and was compelled to spend several weeks on the island, writes: "Nowhere
in Santo are there any such, rivers as are described by De Quiros in his
account of the Tierra Australis; the tendency of all the streams on this
island is to spread into shallows near the beach; that was my experience
of them, and I have waded through them by day, and slept on their banks
by night." ("Australasian Catholic Record," January, 1902.)

{Page 14}

4. What caused joy in a special manner to the Spanish explorers was that
within the bay they found a splendid harbour, to which they gave the name
of Vera Cruz, capable of safe anchorage for 1000 vessels. No such harbour
is to be found at Santo Bay. Findlay curtly remarks: "The port of Vera
Cruz is not to be found in it." Mr. Collingridge, in his most interesting
"Discovery of Australia" (Sydney, 1895), also gives the statement of a
venerable Marist missionary, who spent many years in the New Hebrides,
that "there is no such port at Santo."

5. De Quiros and his associates refer to the fine strand connected with
this port and extending between the two rivers; and they make particular
mention of the heavy black pebbles strewn on this strand, "admirably
suited for ships' ballast." Nothing of all this is to be met with at

6. The narratives from which I have given extracts refer to the singular
healthiness of the newly discovered land. Now Findlay writes of Santo (p.
749): "The climate from the luxuriance of the vegetation and the
dampness of the soil seems much less adapted to European constitutions
than the Polynesian islands, whose natives also suffer here from
dysentery, fever and ague." The missionaries' reports confirm this
statement. Mr. Bevan, addressing the Geographical Society of Melbourne
in May, 1900, while eulogising the appearance of Santo, admitted the
prevalence of "malaria and perpetual enervating heat," which made it
unfit for Europeans.

7. No large islands are in sight from Santo Bay. De Quiros relates of the
bay which he discovered that within view were seven islands, and midway
to them other inhabitable islands. The circuit of the seven islands would
be about 200 leagues, and one of them was 50 leagues (150 miles) in
circumference, almost as large as the Island of Santo itself. The
precision with which those Spanish explorers set forth the expanse of the
islands off the discovered coast is a sure argument for their accuracy
when they report the vast extent of the Great Southern Land.

8. De Quiros writes regarding the resources of the discovered land: "The
riches are silver and pearls, which I saw, and gold which was seen by the
other captain, as he says in his report." Findlay reports that in Santo
there is nothing to indicate

{Page 15}

any such riches; "no trace has been found of silver or gold.

9. The various species of fishes which were found by the Spanish
explorers are set forth in detail. Some of these, for instance the salmon
and the pig-fish, are not to be found at Santo, but they have their
habitat on the Australian coast.

10. Mention is made of the facilities for building which the marble
quarries of the newly discovered land would pre-sent. No marble is to be
found in Santo.

11. Findlay writes of Santo (p. 766): "It rather partakes of the
character of an archipelago than a single island, from the numerous
islands clustered around its shores." Such a prominent feature would not
have escaped the careful inspection of De Quiros and his companions.

12. In describing the interesting features of the newly discovered land,
the Spanish writers could not but have dwelt upon the attractiveness and
beauty of its coral surroundings, were Santo the land to which they
refer. Santo is justly classed among "the summer isles of Eden, in dark
purple spheres of sea." Mr. Theodore F. Bevan, in his discourse al-ready
referred to, at the meeting of the Geographical Society at Melbourne, in
May, 1900, describes the vision that must have presented itself to the
enraptured gaze of De Quiros when approaching Santo: "Ocean floor
bestrewn with emerald pearl and turquoise; rosy, like waking Venus, and
after age-long sleep in blue Pacific depth the Great Cyclades uprose,
homage to pay to their discoverer." All this could not have been
for-gotten by De Quiros and his companions.


The data furnished by the various memorials of De Quiros and his
fellow-explorers fit in accurately with the claim of Port Curtis and the
adjoining coast to be the Great Southern Land of their discovery.

1. To the newly discovered land they assigned the dimensions of a
Continent. Such is Australia. We, must bear in mind that, believing it to
be the long-sought-for Southern Continent, they would, in accordance with
the current ideas in those days, extend its southern boundary to the
Antarctic circle. With such limits, De Quiros might most justly estimate
that it would exceed Europe even with Asia Minor and the Mediterranean

{Page 16}

superadded, and that it might justly be ranked a% a fourth part
of the explored world.

2. The magnificent expanse of water, including Keppel Bay and Port
Curtis, has an extent of about GO miles, and its circuit along the coast
adds at least 15 miles to its length. The width of Keppel Bay at its
entrance is about 24 miles, and that of Port Curtis is 12 miles. These
measurements correspond in a general way with those that are assigned to
De Quiros's discovery.

3. The Boyne and Calliope Rivers correspond to the two rivers described
by De Quiros. Their position "midway in the bay," adjoining the
anchorage, and the distance of about six miles between the mouths of the
rivers, correspond to the description given in the extracts. De Torres
writes that other rivers also fall into the bay, and here we have the
Fitzroy and other smaller rivers. It might at first cause surprise that
De Quiros would not make special reference to so important a river as the
Fitzroy. But we must bear in mind he was in search of anchorage and of
navigable rivers. The Boyne and Calliope were just the rivers that met
his wishes. The Fitzroy, with its rocky approaches, repelled the Spanish
navigators, and it was only when the rocks were cleared at considerable
expense in latter times that it became at all navigable.

4. Port Curtis, or as it is at present more generally called, Port
Gladstone, is precisely such as would captivate the heart of De Quiros.
"A thousand ships could find anchorage here," is his description of the
newly discovered port. It will be remarked as a singular coincidence that
some years ago Mr. Nesbitt, examining the coast harbours on the part of
the Government, officially reported in almost identical words: "The
harbour of Port Curtis offers safe anchorage for 1000 of the largest
vessels afloat."

In an official despatch of Colonel Barney to the Government under date
20th July, 1847, we read: "The position and extent of Port Curtis, which
I take to be the third harbour in importance in these seas, inferior only
to Port Jackson and Hobart Town, must shortly lead to an establishment on
its shores."

5. A remarkable feature of the strand at Port Curtis is that it is strewn
with "black heavy pebbles" such as De Quiros describes. These are the
"Manganese bubbles," as they are

{Page 17}

locally designated. The editor of the "Gladstone Advocate," in a letter
to me, writes: "Manganese abounds in this district. Fragments of this
mineral, black and heavy; are strewn all over the shore line when the
tide goes out." I may add that one of the richest mines of Manganese has
its opening close to the present harbour landing place at Gladstone.

6. There is no question as to the healthiness of the Queensland coast,
and to the invigorating influence of its atmosphere, particularly in the
months of May and June, which was the time of De Quiros's sojourn there.

7. The seven islands within sight, and other inhabited islands half-way,
are a distinctive feature of Keppel Bay and Port Curtis. One of the
distant islands, with a circuit of 50 leagues (150 miles), corresponds to
Curtis Island. Facing Island, in front of Gladstone, was inhabited by the
natives till a comparatively late period.

8. Needless to say that signs of silver and gold are no strangers along
the Queensland coast.

9. I have referred to the salmon and pig-fish, which are particularly
referred to by De Quiros, but for which we search in vain at Santo. On
the other hand, we find that the Queens-land rivers and coast abound
with them. All visitors to Queensland are familiar with the pig-fish. As
regards the salmon, an expert correspondent writes to me: "The most
remarkable fresh-water fish in Queensland is the famous Burnett Salmon
(ceratodus Forsteri). This salmon of De Quiros belongs to the Dipnoid
fishes, of which there are only two other species in evidence, one in the
Amazon, the other in South Africa. The existence of this fish in the
(islands of the) South Seas is absolutely unknown to science." Mr. Stead,
in.. "Fishes of Australia" (Sydney, 1906), refers to this particular
species of salmon as frequenting the Burnett River, and also the Mary
River, in Queensland.

10. Marble, and especially building marble, and limestone are abundant in
Gladstone and its neighbourhood, and also in some of the islands off the

Seeing that the data furnished by the Spanish explorers fit in in such a
singular manner with the Gladstone district and the Queensland coast, we
feel justified in concluding that the Great Southern Land which was
discovered by them was none other than our Australian Continent.

{Page 18}


Two arguments are advanced in favour of the Santo Island, which at first
seem quite conclusive, but which, when more closely examined, are found
to merit no attention.

1. The first argument is as follows:-The various narratives assign the
Latitude 15 deg. 15 min. South as the exact position of the landing place
in the newly discovered land. This leads us to Santo.

We must bear in mind, however, that in those days the maritime explorers
in their published reports were careful to conceal the accurate latitude
and longitude of the lands which they discovered, thus to lead astray
their rival explorers and to prevent their appropriating the advantages
of their discovery. This ruse of the early Spanish and Dutch navigators
is referred to in the introduction to the first volume, of the Hakluyt
series. Our own Australian Ernest Favenc, in his excellent "Story of
Australian Exploration," p. 18 (Sydney, 1888), remarks that "the jealousy
with which the maritime nations of Europe guarded their discoveries from
each other has been the means of putting great difficulties in the way of
tracing out the early traditions of the great South Land...

The generous emulation in the cause of scientific discovery was unknown,
and the secrets of the sea were scrupulously kept."

Sir Clements Markham also remarks that "the Spanish Government jealously
concealed the knowledge acquired by their great explorers" (I. xxviii.).

One of my critics has indeed remarked that though such jealousy prevailed
in the early days of exploration, it had disappeared before the period of
which we now treat. But it is quite the reverse. Never, perhaps, were the
secrets of discovery more jealously guarded than at this very period.

In the narrative of his voyage, drawn up by his secretary but signed by
himself, De Quiros adds, regarding his discovery (I. 157): "I beg you to
keep it secret, for man does not know what time brings."

In the volumes just published by Sir Clements Markham we find (II., 516)
a Memorial to the King of Spain accusing De Quiros of indiscretion in
giving an account of his discoveries, "a proceeding which may cause
serious inconvenience, from the information that foreigners way be able
to gather, and thus send notices of those lands and of the navigation to

{Page 19}

countrymen." The King on 31st October, 1610, with his own hand, gave the
order: "Tell the same Quiros to collect these papers, and give them with
secrecy to the officers of the Council of the Indies, for these things
are not to pass through many hands."

2. The second argument is one on which our worthy citizen, Mr.
Collingridge, and the secretary of the Geographical Society mainly rely.
The map of the newly-discovered land, which was drawn by Diego de Prado y
Tobar, and was for-warded by him to the Spanish. King from Goa on the
24th December, 1613, has at length come to light. It unmistakably
presents to us the Santo Island.

I at once admit that this map of Prado y Tobar represents the Island of
Santo, and I also admit that Prado y Tobar formed part of the expedition
of De Quiros. Mr. Collingridge styles him the cartographer of the
expedition, but of this high position there is no mention in the
contemporary records. On the contrary, in two published lists (I., 254;
IT., 382) he is assigned the office of storekeeper of the projected
settlement, He pursued De Quiros with singular venom and undisguised
hostility. De Torres, in his narrative, finds fault with De Quiros for
his lenity in dealing with offenders. Only two members of his company had
been punished by him during the voyage, and he only inflicted on them the
trivial punishments of transferring them to his ship when they merited
the gravest chastisement. One of these offenders was Prado y Tobar. All
through De Quiros's subsequent career we find that this offender pursued
him with unceasing enmity. Sr Clements Markham describes him as a
mutinous officer, and again calls him the enemy, and the malignant enemy
of De Quiros. (I., xvi., xxix., xxxii.).

Two letters of his are published by Sir C. Markham. They accompanied the
map on which my critics now rely in these letters he calls De Quiros an
impostor, a liar, and a fraud (II., 511, seqq.), who discovered nothing
"but some reefs and small islands," and who should be wholly discredited
in the statements of his Memorials and in his pretence to having found
the great Austral Land. The map which he forwards is part and parcel of
this attempt to discredit De Quiros. From the very outset similar
attempts had been made. On his arrival in Mexico after his eventful
voyage, De Quiros writes (I., 311)

{Page 20}

that "there were persons who, to gratify their evil passions, wrote to
the Viceroy of Mexico, and sowed many letters all over the land, trying
to misrepresent and discredit the expedition." So prejudiced were some
members of the Council against him that he was, regarded "as a very
dangerous man who might sell his knowledge and services to the English."
(I., xxxv.).

That Santo was one of the islands discovered by De Quiros is
unquestionable, and it is no less certain that the map forwarded from Goa
in 1613 represents the Santo island; but when Prado y Tobar forwards the
map of Santo as proof that the statements of the captain regarding his
discovery of the great Austral Land were without foundation, I cannot but
regard it as an additional argument in favour of my contention, that
Santo cannot be the grand Austral continent of which De Quiros speaks and
of which he claimed to be the discoverer.


Some difficulties that have been urged against the claims of Port Curtis
now demand our attention.

1. It has been remarked that some of the products commemorated by De
Quiros, when he speaks of the "yams, oranges, limes, papans, almonds,
nutmegs, mace, ginger and pepper," are not indigenous to the Queensland
coast. We must bear in mind, however, that De Quiros refers to these as
pro-ducts of the various islands and other lands which he had discovered,
and not as characteristic of the territory around the harbour of Vera
Cruz. The pioneers who explored the Port Curtis district in the middle
of the last century found abundance of fruits among the natives. Mr.
Friend, who was one of those explorers, writes to me that around Port
Curtis "in the early days there were yams growing there and many kinds of
wild fruits, even bread-fruit and wild bananas." Another expert attests
that in the Gladstone district there are three varieties of the citrus,
and that there is also a so-called wild plum (solanum) with a fine bloom
on the fruit. A gentleman connected with the Department of Agriculture in
Brisbane also writes: "As to indigenous fruits, the principal one is the
Eugenia Myrtifolia, which bears a quantity of fruit. The Government
Botanist here informs me that there are hundreds of these trees, and some
settlers make the fruit into jam." All this

{Page 21}

harmonises perfectly with the accounts given by the Spanish explorers.

2. It has been argued, however, by Mr. Favenc that the explorers found in
the land of their discovery a rich and fertile soil and all the
requirements for a flourishing settlement. Now, he says, the territory
around Port Curtis is the reverse of all this. He cites the words of
Oxley, who, in 1823, having anchored in Port Curtis looking for a site
for a convict settlement, reported to the Government as follows: "Having
viewed and examined with the most anxious attention every point that
afforded the least promise of being eligible for the site of a
settlement, I respectfully submit it as my opinion that Port Curtis and
its vicinity do not afford such a site; and I do not think that any
convict establishment could be formed there that would return, either
from the natural productions of the country or as arising from
agricultural labour, any portion of the great expense that would
necessarily attend its formation." It should be a sufficient reply to Mr.
Oxley's report that he visited the country under very exceptional
circumstances, and that the Government, as a matter of fact, ignored his
report and proceeded to carry out the convict settlement which was
projected there.

Another critic cites the testimony of "the Police Magistrate" at
Gladstone, to the effect that, "speaking generally, there is not a decent
piece of land around Port Curtis." This, indeed, would not be consistent
with the statement of De Quiros that there was excellent land for every
sort of cultivation in the district which he explored. However, it has
been often remarked that Police Magistrates are not always the best or
the most expert judges as regards the quality of land in their respective
districts; and the present instance does not appear to be an exception to
the rule. The editor of the "Gladstone Advocate," on February 16th, 1901,
makes short work of the difficulty. He thus writes:

"It has been said that, speaking generally, there is not a decent piece
of land around Gladstone. That, we think, is a question of horizon. If we
limit our view to the town itself, and a few miles of its environments,
the land is only reasonably good, with only patches of excellent quality.
But if we take the Gladstone district generally such a statement is
untrue. There is no finer land in Queensland-we might say Australia-than

{Page 22}

that which is to be found along the valleys of the Boyne and Calliope. It
is marvellously rich and prolific, and suitable for agricultural or
pastoral purposes. The close settlement which is now going on in the
Gladstone district is proof of the excellent quality of the land."

In the earlier days of colonisation the same condition of the country was
officially recognised, and I will cite one authority which cannot but be
regarded as conclusive in this matter.

In the "Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake," by Macgillivray'
(published under the sanction of the Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty, London, 1852), is inserted an extract from a despatch of
Colonel Barney, under date, Sydney, 20th July, 1847, relative to a
proposed settlement at Gladstone (p. 52):

"The extent of land fit for agriculture, within a few miles of the coast,
far exceeds the expectations I had formed on my first visit. Timber for
dwelling-houses and for ship-building is abundant and of the best
description; and within five miles of South Shore Head (the best site for
a settlement) there is to be found pipe-clay, brick-earth, ironstone,
freestone, granite, trap, slate, indications of coal; and, independent of
a great sup-ply of shells for lime on the immediate site, there is at the
head of one of the navigable salt creeks a fine freshwater stream
running over a bed of limestone...The position and extent of Port
Curtis, which I take to be the third harbour in importance in these seas,
inferior only to Port Jackson and Hobart Town, must shortly lead to an
establishment on its shore...The country is capable of affording all the
tropical as well as a considerable portion of European produce, and will
be found highly favourable for the breeding of stock."

3. De Quiros, in his Memorials to the King, refers specifically to one
feature of the newly-discovered land which finds no counterpart in Santo
or the other islands of the New Hebrides Group, but which is fully
realised on the shores of Port Curtis. This is "the marble quarries,"
from which (as De Quiros adds) "sumptuous and elegant edifices could br,
raised." Now, the most sanguine champions of Santo have not as yet found
the slightest trace of marble there, whilst immense beds of marble crop
up to the surface along the coast and in the islands off the coast at
Port Curtis.

{Page 23}

As this is such a distinctive feature of the explored territory around
the harbour of Vera Cruz, it may be well to recall a few passages that
refer to it.

In a village that the explorers visited they found "a flute, and certain
small things worked out of pieces of marble and jasper." Again, De Quiros
writes: "It appeared to us that we saw there quarries of good marble; 1
say good, because several things were seen that were made of it and of

Of the natives it is said: "They work stone marble and make flutes, etc."

And again we read: "The convenience of such excellent soil, black,
thick, and close, is that tiles and bricks may be manufactured. This,
combined with good quarries, will enable large and sumptuous edifices to
be built, the great abundance of timber giving help. Many mills can be
erected, the rivers having such volume...The stone is fine, hard, and
takes a polish. There are also very good quarries as in Madrid."

Some of my critics have endeavoured to lessen the weight of this argument
by stating that the Gladstone marble is of inferior quality, "As to the
marble or limestone deposits (one writer states), there is any quantity
of it 14 miles from Glad-stone, but it is not good as a rule, having too
much lime scattered through it. It is useless for mantelpieces,
headstones, statues, etc." Here, however, it is to be remarked that it is
of marble for building purposes that De Quiros speaks, and the more lime
the marble may have the better will it suit for such purposes. All the
marble quarries, however, in the Glad-stone district are not of the same
quality. One of them is known by the name of Carrara, and has veins of
the best quality of marble. An article in the "Gladstone Advocate," under
date February the 16th, 1901, sets all difficulties at rest on this head,
and proves to conviction that in so far as this feature of the discovered
land is concerned, it harmonises perfectly with the Port Gladstone
district. It is as follows:

"It will be noticed that the existence of marble is not denied. But that
it is of an inferior quality we utterly refute. We have frequently
referred to the marble deposits of this district. It is true that the
deposits which form the bed and steep bank of the Calliope River are
inferior to deposits found in other parts of the district, being, for the
most part, a breccia marble, the particles being fastened with an iron

{Page 24}

but it takes a beautiful polish and has a most variegated appearance.
These deposits are easily reached by way of the river, The Calliope
River crossing is paved with marble. There are also large deposits on
the Boyne River. But the locality is rich in all varieties of this
classic stone, from white statuary marble almost equal to the finest
Carrara, and the blackest of black marbles, to the most variegated. It is
not confined to one spot, but abounds throughout the whole district. That
it is of good quality, and could be utilised for building, ornamental or
statuary purposes, we can aver, as we speak with some degree of
experience, and have before us as we write polished samples of almost
every description to be found in the district. That it can be used to
good purpose may be seen at any time if one likes to examine the marble
font in the Presbyterian Church, which is made from local marble. The
mantelpieces in the Queensland Parliament House are also made from marble
from the Gladstone district. A table made from our marble was sent to the
Paris Exhibition, and the maker was awarded a silver medal. There are
also monuments and tombstones in our local cemetery. There are polished
tablets which have been exposed to the weather since 1858 as good in
appearance now as they were then, Samples of the marble and many
ornaments made from it were sent to the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in
1886, and the exhibitor was

awarded a certificate and a medal. This is proof enough, surely, of its
quality. If De Quiros or any other navigator sailed up the Calliope
River, the mouth of which is a couple of miles north of Auckland Inlet,
on which Gladstone stands, he could not miss the marble deposits there,
but he might easily be pardoned if he did not ascertain if there was
any-thing of a superior quality some distance away, or inquire into its
quality. The mere fact that there was marble would probably be sufficient
information for him."

4. Another common difficulty against the opinion which I have adopted
recalls to mind the fact that hitherto every writer on the geography of
the South Seas has regarded Santo as the Great Southern Land discovered
by De Quiros. It cannot but be presumptuous, it is said, to advance an
opinion contrary to such a consensus of expert writers. Findlay, however,
has well remarked that in this matter geographers have, as a matter of
course, accepted without inquiry the statements of Captain

{Page 25}

Cook. He found that the degree of latitude assigned by De Quiros
harmonised with Santo, and he at once accepted its big bay as the
landing place of the great Spanish explorer. Probably not one of the
subsequent geographical writers knew anything of Santo except what was
set forth by Captain Cook, for the New Hebrides were outside the ordinary
track of navigation, and were but little known till our own day; and, on
the other hand, the original sources of information regarding the
discovery of De Quiros were not available. The mountains of the Moon
bordering on the Sahara in Africa present a similar instance. A traveller
some 200 years ago having referred to such a chain of mountains, each
subsequent geographer as-signed them their due position in the African
Continent. When Stanley penetrated Central Africa, no such mountain range
could be found, and it at once became evident that they were mere
moonshine. The identifying Santo with the Great Southern Land was no
less a delusion.

It is not accurate, however, to state that all geographers have hitherto
been agreed in assigning Santo as the Great Land discovered by De Quiros.
Our worthy Sydney citizen, Mr. Collingridge (p. 305), reproduces the map
of that Southern Land published in 1752 by the geographer to the King of
France, who manifestly had access to original sources not generally
available. His map presents a fair outline of our Australian Continent,
and on its North-East coast, pretty well corresponding to the position of
Port Curtis, he marks the harbour of Vera Cruz, discovered by De Quiros.

5. Some critics have remarked that although the Boyne of the Queensland
coast is a fair-sized river, yet it can have no claim to be likened to
the Guadalquivir (the very name of which implies a "great river"), which
for 60 miles of its course to the city of Seville is navigable for the
largest vessels. But we must attend to the words of De Quiros. He
expressly states that the river which he discovered was as large as the
Guadalquivir at Seville, that is, 60 miles from its mouth. Beyond
Seville, the Guadalquivir is navigable only for smaller craft and little
frigates. The Boyne may justly be compared to it at that stage of its

6. It only remains to consider the difficulty advanced by Mr. Ernest
Favenc, who, writing in the "Australian Journal of Education" (September
1st, 1904), contends that the data furnished

{Page 26}

by De Torres are irreconcilable with the claim of Port Curtis. De Torres
(he says) sailed from the newly-discovered harbour of Vera Cruz on a
south-westerly course till he reached the 27 deg. of S. latitude, and
then, veering his course to the N.W., came upon the southern coast of New
Guinea, and discovered the Strait that bears his name. If we suppose him
to start from Port Curtis on such a course, he must have sailed through
the Australian Continent. In this statement of the case, however, it
seems to me that Mr. Favenc does not do justice to the genuine meaning of
De Torres's narrative. I interpret him to imply that he resolved to
continue the voyage where De Quiros had interrupted it at the 26 deg.
South latitude, thus to carry out what he believed to be the royal
instructions. According to this interpretation, he sailed some days along
the Queensland coast, but finding the winds unfavourable, proceeded to
the latitude and longitude where. De Quiros had abandoned the southern
voyage. Thence De Torres sailed towards the south to the 30 deg., and even
passed that latitude one degree on a south-east course. This would bring
him approximately to the longitude 163 deg. as marked on our maps.
Finding no land, he directed his course to the north-west, where
eventually he fell in with the southern coast of New Guinea. This appears
to be the natural meaning of the words of De Torres, and the course of
navigation which he would thus have pursued is quite reconcilable with
the fact that Fort Curtis was his starting point. Mr. Collingridge (p.
234) calls attention to the fact that De Torres speaks of the "mentioned
latitude" and the "said latitude" in a mysterious way, and remarks that
the accurate latitude "was, no doubt, purposely kept secret."

There is one feature of Mr. Favenc's diagram which it will be well to
bear in mind. He allows De Torres to proceed only to about the 27 deg. on
Ms S.W. course from Santo, and then marks out his N.W. course to New
Guinea. But De Torres's statement must be our guide in marking out the
course which he pursued, and he tells us that he sailed S.W. till he
reached the 3l deg. S. latitude. Now, following out the diagram of Mr,
Favenc, this course would inevitably lead him to the Australian mainland.

7. Someone perhaps will say that there are far more than seven islands
lying off the coast of Keppel Bay. De Quiros,

{Page 27}

however, states: "At this port and bay are many excellent islands, seven
of which may be especially mentioned" Compare this with Findlay's account
of the Keppel Bay coast (p. 983). There is, he tells us, the Capricorn
group with three principal islands; then the Bunker group, also with
three islands. These "occupy an extent of 54 miles nearly parallel with
the coast." Then comes Curtis Island, 25 miles in length. All these form
as if the outer barrier of the magnificent bay.

Bermudez further remarks that these seven islands are "in sight of the
port;" and that "nearly half-way there are other known islands," All this
is verified at Port Curtis, for Facing Island, eight miles in length, and
other smaller islands stand midway between the port and Curtis Island,
and thus all details admirably fit in with the description given in the
Spanish narratives.

8. There remains one serious difficulty which affects, not the territory,
but the natives of the discovered, land. The various narratives reckon
the bow and arrow and wooden swords among their weapons of war. Such
weapons, however, were unknown to the Queensland aboriginals when the
territory was visited by Captain Cook and subsequent explorers.

To this difficulty the distinguished Victorian geographer, Mr. Panton
to whom i have already referred has replied that the Spaniards might
easily have mistaken for arrows some of the spears which are still in use
among our aboriginals. Ile writes: "Anyone who has ever seen a sheaf of
reed spears would look upon them as large arrows. The natives can throw
them some 200 yards, and they might very easily be mistaken for arrows by
Spaniards seeing them for the first time." This specially holds good when
the natives make use of the spear-rest. The same writer adds: As to
wooden swords, 1 would ask: Has anyone seen such a weapon in Santo? In
Australia some weapons do resemble swords. 1 have several in my

We may further remark, however, that those who have made a study of, our
'aboriginals have come to the conclusion that more than one wave of
invasion from the Java and the Malay Peninsula must have swept over parts
of Australia. In-dependent even of this; we may readily suppose that
during the 200 years that elapsed between the discovery of De Quiros and
the British occupation of Australia, many unrecorded vicissitudes may
live occurred. The tribes from the mountains may

{Page 28}

have pressed upon the natives inhabiting the coast and compelled them to
take refuge in the islands scattered through-out the Torres Strait and in
New Guinea. In these islands the bow and arrow have long been in constant
use. Macgillivray, in "Voyage of the Rattlesnake"( p. 296), when engaged
in the exploration of the Islands of Torres Straits off Cape York, writes
that the natives there "readily parted with the bows and arrows, of which
they had a very large supply." With the vicissitudes of the natives,
however, we are not primarily dealing at present. We are considering the
unchanging features of the land discovered by De Quiros. These are
inconsistent with the island of Santo, and are found to harmonise
satisfactorily with Port Curtis and the adjacent Queensland territory.


De Quiros had won his laurels as an explorer in the islands of the
Pacific towards the close of the 16th century. And now one grand project
engrossed his thoughts. He would discover the Great Southern Land, and
would rival the glory of Columbus by bringing new nations under the
salutary influence of religion. But how could he secure the approval of
the Spanish Government for a scheme which to many seemed visionary and

It was the Jubilee year, 1600. Pilgrims from every part of Europe were
flocking to Rome. He, too, would take the pilgrim's staff, and whilst in
Rome he might perhaps enlist the Pontiff's sympathy for his enterprise.

In the volumes of the Hakluyt Society now published by Sir Clements
Markham (London, 1904) we have from De Quiros himself the narrative of
his pilgrimage. He landed in the month of August, 1600, in the territory
of Genoa, and thence, "dressed as a pilgrim," traversed on foot several
of the finest cities of Italy, where he remarks, "there was much to see
and to notice."

Arriving in Rome, he was well received by the Spanish Ambassador. On the
28th of August he partook of the mid-day meal with the boor pilgrims, and
in the afternoon had an audience of the Pontiff, Clement VIII., who
listened attentively to his plans and commended his zeal and earnestness.

The most eminent astronomers and geographers in the Eternal City were
invited to consider the project of De Quiros. In those days, as in later
times, the most learned scientists

{Page 29}

of Europe made Rome their home. Among them was the German, Christopher
Clavius, who taught mathematics in Rome for 20 years and was employed by
Pope Gregory XIII. in the correction of the Calendar. He, with Toribio
Perez, who had taught geography at Salamanca, and the learned Jesuit
Villapando and others, examined and approved the project of De Quiros. As
a result, Clement VIII. gave him commendatory letters for the Spanish
Monarch, and granted many privileges and indulgences to those who would
engage in his enterprise. De Quiros refers particularly to a particle of
the wood of the Cross which was given to him by His Holiness, but which,
he tells us, he obtained with very great difficulty. Sir C. Markham
writes that the Pope's influence secured his success. Within a year he
had obtained a royal order, through the Council of State, addressed to
the Viceroy of Peru, instructing that dignitary to fit out two ships at
Callao, to enable Quiros to undertake an expedition for the discovery of
the Antarctic Continent."

Many difficulties, however, had yet to be overcome, and it was not till 
the month of December, 1605, that two ships and a zabra, or launch, were
consigned at Callao to De Quiros for his glorious enterprise. The ship
chosen for the captain him-self was named San Pedro y Sari Pablo, and was
of 150 tons. The second ship was named San Pedro, 120 tons. The launch
was named Los Tres Reyes.

With the details of the voyage we are not now concerned. Suffice it
to say that on the 1st of May, in 1606, they entered a magnificent bay,
and spread out before them was what De Quiros believed to be the grand
continent of which he was in search. Two days later, as they sailed down
the bay, they discovered a safe port in which a thousand ships could find
anchorage. It was situated between two rivers, which supplied them with
delicious fresh water, and they called it the port of Vera Cruz, from the
feast of Holy Cross on which it was discovered. On the following days the
coasts were explored, and the captain used every effort, but in vain, to
engage in friendly relations with the natives.

Pentecost Sunday (10th May) was now at hand. On the eve all was joy and
festivity on board the vessels, for next day would witness the solemn
taking possession of the newly discovered land. A special order of
Knights of the Holy Ghost

{Page 30}

was instituted in honour of the event. The camp master and an armed party
attended to the preparations on shore. A small fort was equipped with
four pieces of cannon. A temporary church was dedicated, under the
invocation of Our Lady of Loreto, and in it an altar with a canopy was
erected, adorned with palm branches and flowers. Masses were said at an
early hour, and the whole expedition, officers and men, approached Holy
Communion with the intent of gaining the Jubilee Indulgence granted them
by Pope Clement VIII, High Mass was sung by the Father Commissary.

Two special facts are commemorated. The Father Commissary and his five
Franciscan companions, barefooted and kneeling on the beach, received, at
the hands of De Torres, the second in command, a large cross, "made of
the orange wood of the country," in which was inserted the Relic of Holy
Cross which the captain had received in Rome. This was borne aloft and
all in procession, singing the "Lignum Crucis," advanced to. the church
door, where the cross, with all solemnity, was set in a pedestal, and the
captain announced in six distinct proclamations his taking possession of
the newly-discovered land in the name of the Catholic Church, in the name
of His Majesty the King, etc.

The second event was at the close of the High Mass. I. will describe it
in the words of De Quiros's secretary: "The three ensigns, who now held
the banners in their hands, inclined them to the ground in front of the
altar, the Royal En-sign holding the royal standard. The Commissary
blessed them with great solemnity; and at a certain signal that was given
to the ships, whose mast-head banners displayed the Royal Arms and at the
sides the two columns (symbols of the Spanish power) and the plus ultra,
with the streamers fluttering; fired off all their guns with full
charges; the soldiers discharged muskets and arquebuses, and the gunners
sent off rockets and fire-wheels. In the middle of al-I this noise, all
shouted with almost infinite joy, and many times, Long Live the Faith of
Christ. And with this the celebration of the festival came to an end."

The next care of De Quiros was to institute and inaugurate a municipality
to control the destinies of the future city. It is pleasing to find among
the appointed magistrates a name which at the present day is highly
honoured throughout Queensland, Julian Real.

{Page 31}

The festival of Corpus Christi was kept with due solemnity on the 21st of
May. It was regarded by the Spaniards as "the first festival celebrated
in honour of the Most High Lord iii these strange and unknown lands."

The secretary of De Quiros gives a minute and detailed description of
this beautiful feast.

On the 20th of May the camp master, with a hundred soldiers, went on
shore to adorn the church, and to mark our the streets for the
procession. Before daybreak on the 21st all were ashore. The church was
"bravely decorated" with green branches. The altar in particular was
richly ornamented; a large oil-painting of the Crucifixion served as the
altar-piece, the candles were lighted and the incense burning.

There were three high triumphal arches, enlaced with palms, branches of
fruit trees and flowers; the ground was also strewn with flowers. The
streets were formed with a variety of trees, and at two angles, under two
other arches, were erected two altars of repose with their canopies; on
these altars were the images of St. Peter and St. Paul.

In the Church three Masses were celebrated. The day was clear and serene,
and as the sun rose over the crowns of the trees, its rays entering
through the branches, the difference in the fruits of each plant was
shown in great profusion. Here, too, could be heard the persistence with
which the birds sang and chanted; the leaves and branches were seen to
move gently, and the whole place was agreeable, fresh, shady, with a
gentle air moving, and the sea smooth."

The order of procession is minutely described. A soldier went first,
holding aloft the heavy cross of orange wood. Next came a lay brother
bearing a gilt cross, attended by Acolytes and Thurifer, all wearing red
cassocks and surplices. Then followed the three companies in order, each
one bearing its banner in the centre; with its drums sounding a march. As
was usual in the Spanish processions, there was a picturesque
sword-dance by eleven sailor lads, dressed in red and green silk, with
bells on their feet. "They danced with much dexterity and grace, to the
sound of a guitar, which was played by a respected old sailor." This was
followed by another dance per-formed "by eight boys, all dressed like
Indians in shirts and breeches of silk, coloured brown, blue, and grey,
with garlands on their heads and white palms in their hands. Bands of

{Page 32}

were around their ankles, and they danced with very quiet countenances,
at the same time singing their canticles to the sound of tambourines and
flutes played by two musicians."

Six Magistrates preceded the Celebrant, each with a lighted torch in his
hand. The Father Commissary, attended by the other Priests, officiated;
the canopy of yellow silk, six yards long, was borne by three royal
officers and three Magistrates; and the "Pange Lingua" was joyfully sung.
After the canopy the Royal Standard was borne by the Ensign, attended by
two, Justices of the Peace and the chief constable.

As soon as the canopy appeared outside the church "all the bells rang,
and the people who were looking on attentively fell on their knees; the
Ensigns lowered the banners three times, the drummers beat the drums for
battle; the soldiers, who had the cords ready, fired off the muskets and
arquebuses; the constables fired off the guns which were on shore for
de-fending the port; and in the ships the artillerymen fired off the
bombards and pieces, and those placed in the launch and boats for the
occasion. Once more, and once again, they were discharged. When the smoke
cleared away, there were seen amongst the green branches so many plumes
of feathers and sashes, so many pikes, halberds, javelins, bright
sword-blades, spears, lances, and on the breasts so many crosses and so
much gold, and so many colours and silken dresses, that many eyes could
not contain what sprung from the heart, and they shed tears of joy. With
this the procession returned, the church being guarded by four corps de
garde. The dancers kept dancing to keep up the festival, and remained
within; and the captain at the door said to them: "All the dresses you
wear, you can keep as your own, for they are from the Royal Treasury; I
would that they were of the best and richest brocade."

To bring the ceremonies to a close a fourth Mass was said to satisfy the
devotion of the sentries "who were posted to keep a look-out for any
approach of the natives, though they were far off on the beach and on the

The narrative adds that, "having given the soul such sweet and delicious
food," the tables were now laid under the shade of tall and spreading
trees, where all were gladdened with a welcome and joyous repast.

Thus were brought to a close the first festive celebrations which marked
the discovery of our Australian Continent.


This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia