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.
Journals of Australian Land and Sea Explorers and Discoverers
In March1606 Willem Janszoon, on board the Duyfken, charted about 300 km of
the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. He is the first authenticated
discoverer of Australia. From that time many seafarers made contact with the
Australian coast including Torres, Hartog, Pelsaert, Dampier and Cook.
From the landing of the first fleet in 1788, the "new" inhabitants of Australia
were desperate to know what lay beyond the mountains which rose about 50 kilometres
inland from the coast and which formed a seeminly impenetrable barrier to exploration
of the continent. There was a very practical reason for this need to know: their
very survival seemed to depend on finding suitable land for grazing and cultivation.
Beyond that, however, was the curiosity which has always driven men to discovery.
Gradually the map of the inland of the continent was drawn, first with the
discovery, by Blaxland Lawson and Wentworth, of a way across the Blue Mountains,
and then by men such as Sturt, Oxley, Eyre, Stuart, Giles, Leichhardt, and Burke
and Wills. The outline of the continent was mapped by navigators including Cook,
Flinders, King and Stokes.
At the time of their discoveries there was great interest in the exploits of
these explorers and it was a was a common practice for them to prepare a journal
of their expeditions for publication in England. Then, for more than a century afterwards,
their exploits were taught in schools.
A reassessment has since taken place, where settlement is seen as invasion
and exploration is seen as expropriation. Of course, these were men of their
time and as such behaved in a way which would be unacceptable to us now. However,
their courage, determination and curiosity shine through in their writing. Furthermore,
in reading their journals we are able to take part in the journeys which they
made. Sue Asscher, who prepared many of the ebooks listed below, summed it up
very well when she commented "I do love and hate the explorers: they kill anything
that moves, turn turtles over, poke through graves, look up grass skirts, take
things for further examination never to be returned, scoff at anything superstitious,
etc. taking notes all the time...and then call, with a sneer, some native girls
who come to take a look at them, the explorers, 'the inquisitive sex'".
We have here at Project Gutenberg Australia, in ebook form, one of the most
comprehensive collections in the world of the journals of Australian explorers.
Furthermore, the 'HTML' versions contain the illustrations which were included
in the original publications. Click on the explorer's name to see an image of
the explorer, biographical information, and a sketch map of the routes travelled.
Also see the Australian Explorers page for
more information about Australian land and sea exploration.
The Journal of Gregory Blaxland, 1813 (1913)--Text-- --HTML--ZIPPED HTML Includes a number of photographs taken
in 1913, at the time of the centenary of the crossing, edited by Frank
Walker (1861-1948) (Incorporating "Journal of a Tour of Discovery Across the Blue Mountains,
NSW, in the year 1813".)
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.)Volume