Australia and particularly Tasmania could have been Dutch…..

Abel Tasman was a Dutch born mariner and navigator with the Dutch East Indies Company.

In 1642 he lead a two ship voyage to explore the southern and eastern oceans, looking for new shipping routes, minerals and spices for trade. He sighted the western coast of Tasmania, followed it south and back up the east coast.

He named the discovery “Van Dieman’s Land” after the governor general of the Dutch East Indies. He tried to navigate a particular bay on the south east coast but his ships were blown out to sea. He named this Storm Bay as he charted the coastline. He didn’t actually set foot on the land, a crew member swam ashore and planted a Dutch flag. Tasman formerly claimed the land for the Dutch in December 1642. His voyage continued to discover New Zealand, the Tonga Islands and some of the Fiji islands.

Tasman’s second Pacific voyage in 1644 followed the southern coast of New Guinea and discovered the north and north west coastline of Australia which he charted and noted observations of the land and it’s people. He named it “New Holland”.

Or Tasmania could have been French…..

In 1802 the Frenchman Nicolas Baudin observed the east coast of Tasmania, collected and named plant samples, interacted with the natives, even collected a variety of animals to add to Josephine Bonaparte’s zoo back in France. This French discovery is evidenced by the names in the area, Frecinet, Mount Baudin, Cape Tourville and Bruny Islands to the south. French expeditions made Europeans aware of this southern island but apparantly, Baudin returned to France reporting no desire for land already occupied by native people.

But Australia and Tasmania became British….

The British navigator, James Cook, had circumnavigated and charted New Zealand before sighting the east coast of Australia in 1770, spending time in Botany Bay where plant specimens were collected. He claimed Australia for the British and by later proclamation, Van Dieman’s Land was included.

The first British colony was established in Sydney in 1788 but it was only in 1803 that the British sent a party from Sydney to Van Dieman’s Land, fearing the French would lay claim to the island.

The party which included convicts, landed in the Derwent River beginning the settlement of Hobart. The island was valuable for timber and whaling and was considered remote enough for hardened convicts.

Obviously, Aborigines occupied the land for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. They were a distinct nation with similar cultures to the mainland tribes, but with some differences. I have read that Tasmanian Aborigines did not use boomerangs. The settlers took over more and more of the land with little regard for the indigenous people who were gradually hounded and killed. The last full blooded Aborigine in Tasmania, died in 1876, a woman named Truganini. Tasmania led the country in formal acknowledgement of injustices and efforts at reconciliation with today mixed blood indigenous people.

After months at sea, what did these European explorers and their crew think when they sighted this unknown land.

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This is Storm Bay on a calm day.

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