Discovery of Australia


Ad Honorem
May 2016
If you don't tell anyone, then I don't think you deserve the credit of having discovered it, since it was irrelevant as far as the rest of the world knows.

And accidentally washing up on shore as a shipwreck survivor doesn't qualify as discovering a place. Also the evidence for both the Chinese and Portuguese is not definitive, merely suggestive, so their claims should be ignored until concrete proof is presented, which hasn't happened yet.

People accept the Vikings were in North America first because there is actual physical evidence to support it, not just highly convoluted arguments and ambiguous evidence. Still, we don't celebrate Leif Erickson Day in the US, but still Columbus, since his discovery is what made a difference.
I mostly agree with you here, only find the “ignored” part excessive. I don’t think these possibilities should be ignored, they should be taken into consideration as what they are: possibilities.

What is the proof?
There is no final proof, at least not yet. It is a possibility and several sources point in that direction. The Portuguese navigated near the Australian coast before the Dutch, there is a map that seems to draw the coast, and according to several historians (like Jaime Cortesão) there was a policy of secrecy about the discoveries.

Maybe if the Portuguese didn't keep their discoveries secret, they would get more credit.
Joking just a little, maybe if the Portuguese didn't keep their discoveries secret there wasn’t almost a century gap between their arrival to the Insulindia and the Dutch arrival. After all it was the existence of Dutch spies in the Portuguese ships that allowed to Dutch to increase exponentially their knowledge about the East Indies.
Oct 2018
Adelaide south Australia
I have often wondered why the Austronesians did not discover Oz on their way to New Zealand. Mayhap they did and found the Abo's too much to handle.
Where would have landed? Coming from the west,I presume. If they missed New Zealand, they might have landed on the east coast of Oz, anywhere say from Victoria to Queensland. A fierce people, with a very different social structure, I think they would have been able to handle any locals.

For you information: The term 'abo' is offensive to indigenous people, and rarely used any more by whites.
Oct 2016
No offense intended. Just an abbreviation to save typing (wasted, alas, in this case :)) Everyone is offended by something.
As to where the Austronesians would have landed: coming from, say, Tahiti, likely the East or North Coast, though coming from another of the many islands , who can say? Oz lies to the North of NZ and these sailors were operating blind, with no knowledge of where they were going and little of where they were, so it could have been elsewhere.
As to being able to handle the 'indigenous population' (wonder who that term will offend): in New Guinea, they could only move somewhat inland before they found the locals too much with which to contend. So they stayed near the river mouths on the coast.
Thanks to those who Posted on this Thread; the Portuguese stuff is also interesting.
Oct 2018
Adelaide south Australia
It's Ok, I'm not Koori. Good thing to know though.

By 'being able to handle the locals' I was referring to the significant differences between Maori and Indigenous Australians. I guess it would depend on how many visitors/ invaders there were.

Australian aboriginals at first European contact, were nomadic hunters and gathers. (not tribal) The composition was thousands of family units of around 20+/- people. Maori society was/is tribal, which meant bigger, more organised groups. Australian aboriginal society has never been aggressive, although they DID fight when threatened or ill treated. Quite possible Maoris could have settled with little or no trouble with the indigenous people, unless the maoris attacked them.--If maoris had settled in Australia a few centuries before European contact, the Europeans wouldn't know what hit them.

Europeans ( especially English) literally ignored the original inhabitant. Officially, Australia was called 'terra nullius', meaning 'nobody's land' (derived from the Roman 'res nullius'). Would love to see them try on that was an organised Maori society--well, they did try it on in New Zealand. The result of that policy is known as"the Maori Wars". :)

Today we can look back and wonder at the unmitigated arrogance of imperial colonialism.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
I think the aboriginal Australians would have had a very difficult time if the Maori had settled. According to their own legends the Maori were banished from their homeland of Hawaiki for continually waging war on other tribes, and on arrival in New Zealand they quickly established a culture of survival of the fittest where warriors were supreme and warfare was the norm. Those unable to defend themselves were exterminated or enslaved. The Maori were a technologcally more advanced, more warlike society than the aboriginals and would have quickly established dominance to the aborginies detriment.

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
Australian aboriginals at first European contact, were nomadic hunters and gathers. (not tribal) .
This is an outdated idea. We've already had an extensive thread debunking this. There were around a million aboriginals consisting of over seven hundred distinct cultural groups in Australia. It is pretty silly to think that they all lived the same way. We now know that some were nomadic, some were subsistence "fire-stick" farmers, and some lived in permanent settlements and practiced full-fledged agriculture.

Dark Emu: Precolonial Australian native society - agricultural or hunter-gatherer?
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