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Project Gutenberg Australia gratefully acknowledges the significant contribution of Sue Asscher in preparing many of the eBooks relating to Australian Explorers, which are available from this page.

Australian Explorers, Discoverers and Pioneers

(including exploration of Antarctica)

Introduction

The First Fleet of ships from England arrived in Sydney in 1788. This represented the first European settlement of the continent, although aborigines had already been living in Australia for tens of thousand of years. For the first twenty-five years the new inhabitants were confined to the coastal strip around Sydney as no way could be found across the Blue Mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range which runs parallel to the east coast of Australia for almost the coast's entire length.

When, in 1813, a way across the Blue Mountains was found, a wave of inland exploration was unleashed which continued for the next fifty years. New areas were opened up for settlement and several expeditions were commissioned by the government and by private backers to ascertain whether an inland sea existed. This remarkable period in Australian history was documented by many of the explorers themselves, who kept journals of their exploration. These journals were usually published soon after the conclusion of each expedition, and particularly appealed to people in England who took quite an interest in the "opening up" of the "new" continent. Moreover, many of those journals have been reprinted in facsimile editions, which mean that they are accessible to the modern reader, though they are by not readily available at all public libraries.

A number of Project Gutenberg volunteers in Australia have transcribed these Australian exploration journals and most are now available at Project Gutenberg, including a a number of HTML versions, with illustrations and maps from the original publications. These ebooks provide a wonderful resource for students, researchers anfd general readers. Links to these ebooks, together with reproductions of maps showing the extent of the exploration undertaken, and other information relating to Australian land and sea exploration are available from links on the exploration timeline on this page, or from the Explorers Journals page.

On this page:

From this site:

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Australian Land and Sea Explorers, including exploration of Antarctica.

Most of the explorers listed here are referred to elsewhere on this page. Click on names for biographical information, links to ebooks and, in some cases, maps of the routes taken.

Roald AMUNDSEN Robert AUSTIN  

 

 

B Herschel BABBAGE Collet BARKER Francis BARRALLIER
George BASS John BATMAN Gregory BLAXLAND
Charles BONNEY John BROOKE John Harris BROWNE
  Robert O'Hara BURKE  
George CALEY David CARNEGIE William CARRON
Jan CARSTENSZ Robert CHRISTISON James COOK
Allan CUNNINGHAM    
William DAMPIER William DAWES Louis Antoine de BOUGAINVILLE
Frederick de HOUTMAN Willem de VLAMINGH  
George EVANS Edward John EYRE  
Ernest FAVENC Matthew FLINDERS John and Alexander FORREST
Sir John FRANKLIN Ernest GILES W C (William Christie) GOSSE
James GRANT Augustus GREGORY Francis (Frank) GREGORY
George GREY Frank HANN William HANN
Dirk HARTOG Joseph HAWDON John A HORROCKS
William HOVELL Alfred William HOWITT Hamilton HUME
Robert Logan JACK Willem JANSZOON (JANSZ) Alexander and Frank JARDINE
William KEKWICK Edmund KENNEDY James KING
Phillip Parker KING    
Compte de LAPÉROUSE William LANDSBOROUGH William LAWSON
Ludwig LEICHHARDT Patrick LESLIE David LINDSAY
Edmund LOCKYER    
John MacGILLIVRAY George MACLEAY John McKINLAY
Angus McMILLAN Douglas MAWSON James MEEHAN
Thomas MITCHELL James Venture MULLIGAN John MURRAY
  Pieter NUYTS John OXLEY
Francois PELSART Arthur PHILLIP  
John Septimus ROE Ernest SHACKLETON  
James SMITH John Lort STOKES Paul STRZELECKI
John McDouall STUART Charles STURT  
Abel Janszoon TASMAN Watkin TENCH Francois THIJSSEN
Charles THROSBY    
W H TIETKENS [commonly spelled TIETKINS] Luis Vaez de TORRES Frederick WALKER
Peter WARBURTON William WENTWORTH William John WILLS

 

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Exploration Time Line--Australian land and sea exploration.
[For Antartcic Exploration see the entries at the end of the Time Line]

This time line contains links to many ebooks created from the journals and first hand accounts written by Australian land and sea explorers. All ebooks are available in PLAIN TEXT format, and many are available in HTML, together with illustrations from the original publication. Generally the HTML file and the illustrations have been 'zipped' to save space and to make the ebook available as one downloadable file. Check the links shown below in the "Autobiographical Publications" column. Works are continually being added. If you experience any problems, or have any suggestions, please contact me. Col Choat.


*** (Refer to the Time Line at the Australian Discovery page
for a more detailed list of events from 1606 to 1770.) ***

Year Name Activity Autobiographical Publications
1606 Willem JANSZOON (JANSZ)

Made first authenticated discovery of Australia, when in command of the "Duyfken". Charted about 300 km of the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland.

 
1606 Luis Vaez de TORRES

Sailed through the Torres Strait in the San Pedro and Los Tres Reyes.(Map)

An account of this voyage is provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott.
1616 Dirk HARTOG

Landed the Eendracht on Dirck Hartog Island on the west coast of Australia. Erected a pewter plate to mark his presence.

 
1619 Frederick de HOUTMAN Landed at Bunbury on the west coast of Australia.  
1622 John BROOKE Shipwrecked in the "Trial", off the western coast of Australia. An extract from Brooke's log is contained in The First Sighting of Australia by the English by Ida Lee
1623 Jan CARSTENSZ Landed on the north-eastern coast of mainland Australia.  
1627 Pieter NUYTS Stumbles upon the south coast of Western Australia and folows it eastward for about 1500km.  
1627 Francois THIJSSEN Charted part of south-west coast of Australia and Nuyts Archipelago.  
1628 Gerrit Frederikszoon DE WITT Ship ran aground off the West Coast of Australia.  
1628-29 Francois PELSART The Dutch ship Batavia was wrecked on the west coast of New Holland.

An account is provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Sea--Chapter 6). The same account, with comments, is given in Early Australian Voyages by John Pinkerton.

1636 Gerrit POOL and Pieter PIETERSZ Miss Torres Strait but sight Dundas Strait and name Van Diemen Gulf. An account is given in Early Voyages to Terra Australis by R H Major
1642-43 Abel TASMAN Circumnavigated Australia; discovered and took possession of Tasmania, New Zealand and some Fijian and Tongan islands. (Map)

Early Australian Voyages by John Pinkerton contains extracts from Tasman's journal.

An account is also provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Sea--Chapter 3).
Abel Janszoon Tasman's Journal

1644 Abel TASMAN On second voyage, established that areas now known as Western Australia and Queensland were part of the same land mass. (Map)

Early Australian Voyages by John Pinkerton contains extracts from Tasman's journal.

An account is also provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Sea--Chapter 3).
Abel Janszoon Tasman's Journal

1681 John DANIEL Sighted New Holland coastline and made a sketch survey of the Wallabi group of Houtman Abrolhos.  
1688 William DAMPIER Visited north-west coast of Australia. First Englishman to suggest that New Holland be explored by the English. (Map) A New Voyage round the World is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page. An account is also provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Discovery by Sea--Chapter 9)
1696-97 Willem De VLAMINGH Looking for the Ridderschap van Holland, Willem De Vlamingh charted the Perth region with the vessels Geelvinck, Nijptang and Weseltje. He travelled 80 kms inland on the Swan River with ship's artist Victorszoon, making pictorials of the coast. De Vlamingh replaced Hartog's pewter plate and then charted Christmas Island on his return trip. An account is given in Early Voyages to Terra Australis by R H Major
1699 William DAMPIER Visited Shark's Bay in the "Roebuck".

A Voyage to New Holland, etc. in the year 1699. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.

Early Australian Voyages by John Pinkerton contains extracts from Dampier's journal.

An account is also provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Discovery by Sea--Chapter 10)

1768 Louis Antoine de BOUGAINVILLE Hoped to discover east coast of New Holland and claim it for France, but turned northward after striking heavy breakers off the Great Barrier Reef.  
1770

James COOK

Landed at Botany Bay and took possession for England. Mapped part of the coastline. (Map)

Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World made in H.M. bark "Endeavour". This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.

1773 James COOK First explorer to cross the Antarctic circle. A Voyage Towards the South pole and Around the World. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1788 Comte de LAPÉROUSE Sailed into Botany Bay practically at the same time as the First Fleet. An account of the voyage is provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Sea--Chapter 14)
1788 Watkin TENCH Sailed to Australia with First Fleet which arrived at Botany Bay in 1788. A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay.
1788 Arthur PHILLIP Commanded the First Fleet to Botany Bay and was the first Governor of New South Wales. Discovered the Hawkesbury River. The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay
1789 Watkin TENCH Explored inland from Port Jackson along Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers. A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson
1789 William DAWES Explored to the west and south-west of Port Jackson.  
1789 William BLIGH Mutiny on the Bounty An account is provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Sea--Chapter 13)
1795-1803 George BASS
Matthew FLINDERS
Both explored Australian coastline and circumnavigaed Tasmania, demonstrating it to be an island. Flinders circumnavigated Australia. (Map)

A Voyage to Terra Australis. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.

Extracts from "A Voyage to Terra Australis" are also provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. (Discovery by Sea--Chapters 15 and 16)

Bass' journal of the circumnavigation of Tasmania appears in An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 2. Chapters XIV to XVI, by David Collins

1800-1 James GRANT Successfully passed through Bass Strait, the first ship sailing from England to Australia to do so. Surveyed Western Port. Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery, 1803.
1800-1802 Francis BARRALLIER Charted Western Port, surveyed Coal Harbour and Part of Hunter River. Made unsuccessful attempt to cross Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Journal of the Expedition into the Interior of New South Wales in 1802
1801-20 James MEEHAN Explored Hunter River in 1801. With Grimes on expedition to explore King Island and Port Phillip in 1802 and 1803. Various expeditions as surveyor.  
1802

John MURRAY

Discovered Port Phillip Bay.  
1802 Francis BARRALLIER Comes to within 25km of Jenolan Caves in his abortive attempt to cross the Blue Mountains.  
1813 Gregory BLAXLAND
Wm. LAWSON
Wm. WENTWORTH
Found a way through the Blue Mountains and thus opened up the way to the west. (Map)

The Journal of Gregory Blaxland, 1813, edited by Frank Walker (1861-1948)? (Incorporating "Journal of a Tour of Discovery Across the Blue Mountains, NSW, in the year 1813". This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.

Also see the The Journal of William Cox who supervised the building of the road through the mountains to Bathurst in 1814.

1813-15 George EVANS Carried out further exploration over the Blue Mountains as far as the Macquarie River. Discovered the Lachlan River.

Accounts of Evans' expeditions are provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott and in Two Journals of Early Exploration in New South Wales

1817-18 John OXLEY Traced the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers and explored the New England Region. (Map) Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1817-22 Phillip Parker KING Explored northern Australian coastline (Map)

Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.

1818-20 Charles THROSBY Reached Jervis Bay by way of the Kangaroo and Lower Shoalhaven rivers. Left the Cowpastures, and travelling south-south-west, then west, north-west, and north-north-west, finished journey near site of Bathurst.  
1823 Allan CUNNINGHAM Discovered "Pandora's Pass", a way through to the Liverpool Plains.

An account of Cunningham's expedition is provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. Large extracts from Cunningham's journals can also be found in Early Explorers in Australia by Ida Lee

1823 John OXLEY Discovered navigable river in Moreton Bay. Geographical Memoirs on New South Wales (1825) edited by Barron Field.
1824 Hamilton HUME and William HOVELL Journey to Port Phillip. Journey of Discovery to Port Phillip, edited by W. Bland. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
An extract from Hovell's journal is also provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott.
1825 Edmund LOCKYER Exploration of the Brisbane River An account of Lockyer's expedition is provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. Also see The Genesis of Queensland (1889) by Henry Stuart Russell.
1827 Allan CUNNINGHAM Discovered the Darling Downs and carried out extensive trips to gather new botanical specimens. An account of Cunningham's expedition is provided in the online resource, 'Australian Discovery', by Ernest Scott. Large extracts from his journals can also be found in Early Explorers in Australia by Ida Lee
1828 Charles STURT Ascertained that Macquarie River ended in marshes and discovered the Darling River (Map) Two Expeditions into the Interior of Southern Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1829-30 Charles STURT Traced Murrumbidge and Murray Rivers to the sea on South Australian coast (Map) Two Expeditions into the Interior of Southern Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1829-30 George MACLEAY Went with Sturt on his expedition down the Murray.  
1829-32 Various people Expeditions in Western Australia Journals of Several Expeditions made in Western Australia 1829-1832 edited by Joseph Cross.
1831 Collet BARKER Explored coast at head of St Vincent's Gulf following Sturt's exploration of the Murray River.  
1831-36 Thomas MITCHELL Discovered several rivers in eastern Australia (Map) Three Expeditions into the Interior of Eastern Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1835 John BATMAN Explored Yarra River and founded place for site of Melbourne.  
1836-1848 John Septimus ROE Exploration inland from Perth. An Expedition to the South-Eastward of Perth, Western Australia (1848)
1838-42 John Lort STOKES Discovered Adelaide and Victoria Rivers and surveyed Torres Strait, Gulf of Carpentaria, Bass Strait and Tasmania. Discoveries in Australia, with an Account of the Coasts and Rivers Explored and Surveyed During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, in the Years 1837-38-39-40-41-42-43. Also a Narrative of Captain Owen Stanley's Visits to the Islands in the Arafura Sea.). This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1839-41 Angus McMILLAN Discovered La Trobe, Mitchell and Macalister Rivers.  
1839 George GREY Explored coastline of Western Australia. Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-West and Western Australia is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1840

Paul STRZELECKI

Discovered Mt. Kosciusko  
1840 Patrick LESLIE Formed the first station on the Condamine River. See The Genesis of Queensland (1889) by Henry Stuart Russell.
1841 Edward John EYRE Explored the Great Australian Bight (Map) Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia, and Overland from Adelaide to King George's Sound. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1844-48 Ludwig LEICHHARDT Explored from Brisbane to Port Essington, north-east of Darwin (Map) Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia 1844-1845. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1845 Charles STURT Expedition in Central Australia in search of an "inland sea". (Map) Narrative of an Expedition into Central Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1845-46 Thomas MITCHELL Discovered Warrego, Belyando and Barcoo Rivers (Map) Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1846-48 Frank GREGORY Exploration in Western Australia. Journals of Australian Exploration. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1846-48 Augustus GREGORY Exploration in Western Australia. (Map) Journals of Australian Exploration. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1846-50 John MacGILLIVRAY Sought a convenient opening in the Barrier Reef to enable ships to proceed from New South Wales to India through Torres Strait. Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, 1846-50. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1847 Edmund KENNEDY Traced the course of the Victoria River (which was renamed the Barcoo) and discoved and named the Thomson River. Expedition to ascertain the course of the River Victoria
1848 Edmund KENNEDY Explored from  Rockingham Bay to Cape York (Map)

Narrative of an Expedition Undertaken Under the Direction of E. B. Kennedy, by William CARRON, a survivor of the expedition. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.

1854 Robert AUSTIN Led an expedition from east of Perth into the interior of Western Australia. An Expedition to Explore the Interior of Western Australia (1854)
1855-56 Augustus GREGORY Went in search of Leichhardt and traced Victoria River (Map) Journals of Australian Exploration. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1858 Augustus GREGORY Second expedition to find Leichhardt (Map) Journals of Australian Exploration. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1859-62 John McDouall STUART Crossed Australia from south to north in 1862 (Map) Explorations in Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1860-61 Robert O'Hara BURKE
William John WILLS
Expedition from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. (Map) Successful Exploration through the Interior of Australia. From the Journals and Letters of William John Wills. Edited by his father, William Wills. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1860-62 William LANDSBOROUGH Traced Gregory and Herbert Rivers to their source. Conducted search for Burke and Wills.

Journal of Landsborough's Expedition from Carpentaria, in Search of Burke and Wills, 1862. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.

1860-2 Alfred HOWITT Led expedition to look for pastoral country near Lake Eyre. Led party to prospect for gold in Gippsland. Led expedition to search for Burke and Wills. Explored near Cooper's Creek.  
1861-2 Frederick WALKER Conducted search for Burke and Wills. Journal of Expedition in search of Burke and Wills. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1861-3 John McKINLAY Conducted search for Burke and Wills. Found grave of Gray.
Explored Northern Territory and reported on the best sites for settlement.
McKinlay's Journal of Exploration in the Interior of Australia (Burke Relief Expedition). This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1864 Alexander and Frank JARDINE Expedition from Rockhamton to Cape York.

* Narrative of the Overland Expedition of the Messrs Jardine, from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
* An Overland Expedition from Port Denison to Cape York under the Command of F and A Jardine by A J Richardson

1866 Peter WARBURTON Exploration in the northern portion of South Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1869-74 John and Alexander FORREST Three expeditions: searched for Leichhardt; Perth to Adelaide; Geraldton to Peake overland telegraph station. (Map) Explorations in Australia. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1872 William HANN Led a well-organized official party to explore the interior of the Cape York Peninsula. Northmost Australia, Volume 2. Chapters 52-58
1872-76 Ernest GILES Crossed Gibson and Victoria Deserts in two expeditions. Australia Twice Traversed. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1873 Peter WARBURTON Expedition from Alice Springs to Oakover River. Journey Across the Western Interior of Australia, 1875. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1873 W C (William Christie) GOSSE First visit by whites to Uluru (Ayers Rock) W C Gosse's Explorations, 1873
1873-75 James Venture MULLIGAN Explored and prospected in the Cape York Peninsula Northmost Australia, Volume 2. Chapters 59-65
1878-80 Ernest FAVENC Explored from Blackall to the Diamantina River, then through unexplored country between the Burke and Herbert Rivers to Buchanan's Creek. Explored in the country to the south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and in the north-west of Western Australia. The Explorers of Australia and their Life-work and The History of Australian Exploration
1879 Alexander FORREST Explored from De Grey River. (Map) Journal of Expedition from De Grey to Port Darwin, 1880.
1879-80 Robert Logan JACK Explored and prospected in the Cape York Peninsula Northmost Australia, Volume 2. Chapters 67-80
1889 W H TIETKENS
[commonly spelled TIETKINS]
Left Alice Springs in March 1889 and returned to Charlotte Waters in July. He reported no new country suitable for settlement, but discovered Lake MacDonald, the Kintore Range, Mount Rennie, and the Cleland Hills. He defined the western borders of Lake Amadeus andphotographed Ayers Rock and Mount Olga for the first time. Journal of the Central Australian Exploring Expedition, 1889
1891 David LINDSAY Started from Warrina, South Australia with the intention of covering as much unexplored territory as possible between there and the western coast of Australia. Journal of the Elder Exploring Expedition, 1891-2. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1896 David CARNEGIE Exploration of the centre of Western Australia including the Gibson Desert. Spinifex and Sand. This ebook is available from the Australian Explorers Journals page.
1896 Frank HANN Overlanded to Western Australia with 6 Aboriginals and 67 horses. Searched unsuccessfully for suitable country in the Nullagine district.  
1898 Frank HANN Penetrated the Leopold Ranges, till then a barrier to expansion, discovered and named the Charnley and Isdell Rivers and located some fine areas of pastoral country.  
Antarctic Exploration (See table below for a link to the South Pole internet site)    
1907-1909 Ernest SHACKLETON Antarctic Expedition. The Heart of the Antarctic (2 Volumes). The story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909
1910-1912 Roald AMUNDSEN Antarctic Expedition. The South Pole; an account of the Norwegian antarctic expedition in the 'Fram', 1910-1912
1911-1914 Douglas MAWSON Antarctic Expedition. The Home of the Blizzard
1914-1917 Ernest SHACKLETON Antarctic Expedition.

South!
The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition 1914-1917

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Some internet sites which provide information about Australian Explorers

Australia on the Map "Australia on the Map" (AOTM) is the history division of the Australasian Hydrographic Society. Its aim is to help Australians to know their early Maritime Contact History better.
Wikipedia--Australian Exploration Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. This page is a starting point for information on Australian exploration and Australia generally.
The South Pole site This site is dedicated to the heroic explorers of our polar regions and the surrounding islands.

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Updated 26 Nov 2013