Australia Geography Overview

In the accounts of the first voyages made in the southern hemisphere, the epithet of “austral” also appears: thus the journey of Le Maire (1617) from Cape Horn to Java is described as “Australische Navigation”. In 1606 de Quiros gave the largest island of the New Hebrides the name of Austrialia del Espirito Santo in honor of an Austrian prince, and the name was then erroneously repeated in the form “Australia” and applied, no longer any relation to the Austria, to the mainland. This, at the time of the discovery, was called by the Dutch Terra Australis and later New Holland; and it seems that only in 1788 the term Australia was used for the first time by a French writer, later supported by Flinders in 1804 and by Governor Macquarie in 1817. But the British government continued to use the term New Holland until 1849. Under the name Australia we generally include the main island and the smaller Tasmania which is only 260 km away. According to Findjobdescriptions, Lord Howe Island, 485 km. to the east, it is part of the constituency of the city of Sydney. Norfolk Island, 1300km. to E., occupied in 1788, was for many years a colony of the Crown and administered by New South Wales; but since 1914 it has become one of the territories of the Federation. The Macquarie Islands, 965 km. to S. of New Zealand, are annexed to Tasmania, but except for whaling landings,

On 23 August 1770, Captain Cook, in the name of King George III, took possession of the east coast and in 1788 the whole eastern portion of the continent up to 135 ° E. and the island of Tasmania, were declared British possession. In 1825 the border was extended to 129 °, which still marks the border of Western Australia; two years later, the remainder of the continent was also annexed to Great Britain. New Zealand was also more or less united with Australia until 1841. In 1825 Tasmania, which had already been recognized as an island in 1798, was declared a separate colony under the name of Van Diemen’s Land, changed to the current one in 1856. Western Australia was established as a colony in 1829, but with the border at the height of the Head of Bight (the summit of the Great Southern Bay), hence a territory of 181,000 sq km remained between it and South Australia. called No man’s Land, which was only incorporated into the state in 1861. In 1846 a separate state was established with the capital (Gladstone) north of Brisbane, but the following year the order was revoked and no new colony arose in the north until 1859, when Queensland was founded. The border of this first reached up to 141 ° E. and only in 1862 was it extended to 138 °. In the meantime the state of Victoria had been separated (1851), with the boundary determined for the most part by the Murray River. Subsequent political changes mainly concern the Northern Territory. Until 1863 it was no more than an uninhabited outer portion of New South Wales; it was later joined to South Australia. On January 14, 1901, all the colonies were united under the name of the Australian Commonwealth; on January 1, 1911, the Northern Territory was ceded by South Australia to the government of the Federation, and, with the same date, a region of 2360 sq km. (Canberra), ceded by New South Wales, was declared the territory of the federal capital. In 1927 the Northern Territory was divided, along the 20th parallel, into two parts called Northern Australia and Central Australia, independent of each other and administered by the federal government.

British New Guinea (Papua), annexed by the British government in 1884, and for several years administered by Queensland, also passed to federal government in 1905. In September 1914, Australian troops occupied German New Guinea: the territory remained under military rule until 1921, and then passed to the Federation as a mandate on behalf of the League of Nations; it also includes the Bismarck Archipelago and the northern Solomon Islands.

Leaving aside the theoretical speculations, which can also be found among the ancients, about the possibility of a land at the antipodes of our habitable land, and equally disregarding the belief in the existence of a hypothetical southern continent of which the earth seemed to be the first sign mysterious orlante to S. the strait discovered by Magellan, it is certain that we cannot speak with certainty before the century of a discovery of the Australian land (which is quite another thing). XVII. Perhaps some echo of the existence of such a large region is already in the vague hints of Marco Polo and Varthema on the SE islands. of Asia; perhaps Portuguese navigators or others of the sixteenth century, sailing to the Malay islands, had some inkling or knowledge of it; Augumentum descriptionis Ptolemaicae of 1598; but certainly, if there was a discovery, the rivalries between Spain and Portugal, whereby each state concealed its own discoveries or reported longitudes “cautiously brought false” (as Juan Gaetan recalls), meant that nothing for sure leaked out.

But, fell with the end of the century. XVI the ephemeral Asian empire of the Portuguese, the Dutch power resumed all maritime activities in the East Indies, and soon the first adventurous voyages to the northern and western coasts of the new continent begin to take place from the Sunda islands. While in 1606 the Spaniard Luis Vaez de Torres, coming from the Luisiades, passed through the strait that later had his name and continued his journey to the Moluccas without knowing that he had passed between Australia and New Guinea, Willem Janszoon with the ship Duyfken, from the Federico Enrico island, adjacent to the SW. of New Guinea, descended into the Gulf of Carpentaria, without suspecting the existence of the Torres Strait, and skirted the W coast of the Cape York Peninsula as far as Cape Keerweer (first safe Australian discovery), however, considering this coast a continuation of the New Guinea. A few years later (1616) Dirk Hartogszoon, taking a more southerly route from the Cape of Good Hope to Java than usual, met the west coast of Australia at the island that still bears his name and followed it North; others in the following years made the same journey, the ship Leeuwin recognized the extreme tip of Australia to the SW., Gerrit De Witt also discovered the coast to the NW. who retains his name (1628), Pieter Nuyts and François Thijszoon, on a voyage of which too little is known (1627), traveled the southern coast from the W, discovering the whole of the Great Bay up to 133 ° E. So in just twelve years most of the western boundary was discovered, while some progress was also made in N.: Jan Carstenszoon in 1623 with the ships Pera and Arnhem explored the Gulf of Carpentaria and left his name to the Land of Arnhem, Pieter Pieterszoon in 1636 discovered more to the West the island of Melville and the adjacent stretch of coast.

Australia Geography Overview