Ian Burnet — Terra Australis: The Voyages of the Duyfken & the San Pedrico

The year 1606 saw Europeans sighting Australia twice.

The voyage of the Duyfken, captained by William Janszoon, is as important to Australian history as the Santa Maria is to Americans, producing the first chart of the Australian coastline. Reaching the west coast of Cape York, in northern Queensland, the crew of the Duyfken were the first Europeans to set foot on the continent. Their meeting with the local people was the first documented contact between the Indigenous Australians and Europeans.

Just months later, a Spanish expedition was looking for the reputed Terra Australis, the Great Southern Land of legend. After an unsuccessful search, the expedition split and second-in-command Luis de Torres, sailed west in his own ship, the San Pedrico, and a 20 foot launch. He eventually navigated the Torres Strait while contending with fierce storms and reached the Cape York Peninsula.

Maritime historian Ian Burnet discusses the background and of these significant voyages, and their impact on subsequent events. Although Torres’ charts of his crossing were lost, Ian will review the available maps are showing the voyages – and reveal Australia’s first appearance on a subsequent world map.




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