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


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 Continent.


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 borders."

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 Majesty."

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 extracts:--

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 6}

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. side."

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 them.

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 welcome."

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 mainland

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 continent."


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

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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


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 Santo.

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 harbour.

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 their

{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 jasper."

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 cement,

{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 course.

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 collection."

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 elusive?

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

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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.

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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 bells

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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 hills."

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.


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