Aussie Educator

Australian Exploration

This page has been archived and is no longer being added to or maintained.

Being at the end of the world and with such a large and often desolate landscape, exploration was essential both for discovery and development. Early sea explorers came from several nations, but the British created the colonies. Increasing population, commercialism, inquisitiveness, and often mislaid beliefs such as an Inland Sea, possible gold reefs and more, saw people opening up new areas and connecting settlements.

This page covers sea and land exploration, before and after settlement, the explorers involved, Aboriginal assistance and more. Australian information is supplied where possible.

There are also journals, databases, primary documents, reference material and other information where these are seen as relevant.

Pre 1788 Exploration

Chinese Exploration of Australia

Did the Chinese actually explore the Australian coast ?

Cook, Captain James

Dampier, William

Dutch Explorers

  • They Set Sail from Holland
    ‘Dedicated to the Dutch who sailed and explored the shores of Australia’. Specific information, linked pages.
  • The Voyagie [VOC]
    The Duyfken and other Dutch voyages. Linked to events surrounding the building of the replica.

Tasman, Abel Janzsoon

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Land Exploration

Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth

Burke and Wills

A major exploration and an avoidable tragedy.

  • Burke and Wills
    Journey from Melbourne to the northern coast. Two versions available. This is the easier of the two.
  • Burke & Wills - Terra Incognita
    State Library of Victoria. Background, preparations, the explorers, expedition, aftermath, archival information.
  • Welcome to Burke & Wills Web
    Everything you want to know, see and learn. Information, documentation, books, memorials, bibliography, links, downloads of relevant material in various formats.

Eyre, Edward John

Hume & Hovell

Kennedy, Edmund

Leichhardt, Ludwig

Mitchell, Major Thomas

Oxley, John

Stuart, John McDouall

Sturt, Charles

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Sea Exploration, 1788 -

Major sea explorers in Australia.

Bass, George

Flinders, Matthew

  • The Flinders Papers
    ‘Transcripts of over 150 documents about Flinders’s life and work’. Section “About Flinders” is good.
  • Matthew Flinders
    Electronic archive at the State Library of New South Wales.

French Explorers

In some instances, these explorations overlapped 1788.

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Other Information

General Sites


Original journals, descriptions, etc., either online or in ebook format.

  • Australian Explorers
    ‘This Australian Explorers website reproduces these journals as they were originally written, one entry to a page and similar bite sized pieces, making reading much more pleasant and practical. Additionally, the journals are individually, fully searchable’.
  • Australian Explorer’s Journals
    Journals from Cook to the Jardine Brothers. You can read them online.
  • Journals of Inland Exploration
    ‘This collection of the major journals of inland exploration in Australia documents the first European encounters with the harsh geography of the new land’.
  • Land and Sea Explorers and Discoverers
    Australian Journals ‘at Project Gutenberg of Australia, in ebook form. One of the most comprehensive collections in the world of the journals of Australian explorers’. You can also access Australian Explorers and Exploration which includes both print journals and websites covering these topics.

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