For centuries before the arrival in Australia of Captain Cook and the so-called First Fleet in 1788, intrepid seafaring explorers had been searching, with varied results, for the fabled “Great Southland.” In this enthralling history of early discovery, Graham Seal offers breathtaking tales of shipwrecks, perilous landings, and Aboriginal encounters with the more than three hundred Europeans who washed up on these distant shores long before the land was claimed by Cook for England. The author relates dramatic, previously untold legends of survival gleaned from the centuries of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Indonesian voyages to Australia, and debunks commonly held misconceptions about the earliest European settlements: ships of the Dutch East Indies Company were already active in the region by the early seventeenth century, and the Dutch, rather than the English, were probably the first European settlers on the continent.
Graham Seal is professor of folklore at Curtin University, Western Australia, and the author of the Australian bestseller Great Australian Stories.
“Seal’s spirited account of these early adventurers inspires both admiration and regret.”—Jon Wright, Geographical
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