xxi, 298 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some colour), maps, portraits ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 274-286) and index.
The search for the great south land began in ancient times and remained a matter of colourful myth and cartographical fantasy until the Dutch East India Company started sending ships in the early 1600s. Graham Seal tells the story of the two centuries it took to discover Australia through many voyages by the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese and Macassans, followed only later by the English. It's a story of danger at sea, dramatic shipwrecks, much missing gold, and terrible loss of life. It is also a story of amazing feats of navigation and survival against the odds. It's been long suspected that survivors of an early 18th century shipwreck off Western Australia went onshore and lived with the local Aborigines. Graham Seal draws on recent research to confirm that these Dutch survivors were in fact the first European settlers in Australia.