Tasmania explorers's diaries

25.11.1642 Tasman off Tasmania

This land being the first land we have met with in the South Sea, and not known to any European nation, we have conferred on it the name of Anthony van Diemenslandt in honour of the Hon. Governor-General, our illustrious master, who sent us to make this discovery; the islands circumjacent, so far as known to us, we have named Matsuyker's Isles after the Hon. Councillors of India."

29.11.1642 Tasman near South West Cape

In the morning we were still near the rock which is like a Lion's Head; towards noon we passed two rocks, of which the westernmost was like Pedra Branca off the coast of China; the easternmost was like a tall, obtuse, square tower. In the evening, about 5 o'clock, we came before a bay which seemed likely to afford a good anchorage, we had nearly got into the bay, when there arose so strong a gale that we were obliged to take in sail, and to run out to sea again."

02.12.1642 Tasman in Frederick Henricx Bay

Early in the morning we sent our Pilot-major Francoys Jacobsz in command of our pinnace, manned with 4 musketeers and 6 rowers, all of them furnished with pikes and sidearms, together with the cock-boat of the Zeehaen with one of her second mates and 6 musketeers in it, to a bay, situated N.W. of us at upwards of a mile's distance, in order to ascertain what facilities (as regards fresh water, refreshments, timber and the like) may be available there.

09.12.1798 Flinders off Albatross Island

Mr.Bass returned at half past two, with a boat load of seals and albatrosses. This species of albatross is white on the neck and breast, partly brown on the back and wings, and its size is less than many others met with at sea, particularly in the high southern latitudes. Albatross Island for so it was named, is near two miles in length, and sufficiently high to be seen five or six leagues from a ship's deck; its shores are mostly steep cliffs.

09.12.1798 Flinders off Trefoil Island

Besides these islands and rocks, we passed another cliffy island to which I gave the name of Trefoil Island, its form appearing to be nearly that of a clover leaf.

03.12.1798 Flinders in Port Dalrymple

The harbour, which we entered with so much pleasure on 03.11.1798 was named Port Dalrymple, by His Excellency governor Hunter, as a mark of respect to Alexander Dalrymple, Esq., the late hydrographer to the Admiralty.

08.01.1799 Flinders off Babel Isles

At six o'clock, Mr.Bass went on shore to the small, south-eastern islet; whence he brought a boat load of seals and gannets. Besides these, the islet is inhabited by geese, shags, pinguins, gulls, and sooty petrels; each occupying its separate district, and using its own language. It was the confusion of noises amongst these various animals which induced me to give the Babel Isles to this small cluster.

31.10.1798 Flinders off Swan Isles

One mile from the northern-west end, lies a low, rocky islet, and several rocks both above and below water. All these are comprehended under the general name of the Swan Isles; a name which, on examination, they appeared very little to deserve. ···

09.12.1798 Flinders off Cape Grim

The North-West Cape of Van Diemen's Land, or island, as it might now be termed (Flinders has just concluded that Bass Strait cuts it off from the continent) is a steep, black head, from its appearance, I call Cape Grim. It lies nearly due south from the centre of Trefoil Island.

11.12.1798 Flinders in sight of Mount Heemskerk and Mount Zeehaen

The mount at the southern end of the back ridge and a peaked hill, four miles E.S.E. from it, appear to have been the smaller mountains seen by Tasman to the north-east, on his discovering this land 24.11.1642; and I therefore named the first Mount Heemskerk, and the latter Mount Zeehaan, after his two ships.

11.11.1798 Flinders off Point Hibbs

A remarkable pyramid came in sight in the evening; at eight o'clock it was distant five miles to the east, and seen to be a rock on the north side of a point, which projects two or three miles from the coast line. This point, named Point Hibbs after the colonial master of the Norfolk, is higher than the neck by which i t is joined to the back land; and from thence, it appears to have been taken for an island by Tasman.

11.12.1798 Flinders off Rocky point

At ten o'clock, a projection which merited the name of Rocky Point bore S.74ºE., five miles; the shore round the bight is high, and at the back were several bare peaks which, from their whiteness, might have been thought to be covered with snow. These peaks are probably what Tasman named De Witt's Isles. I therefore called the highest of them Mount De Witt. It afterwards appeared that these smaller hills stood upon the extremity of a point; and in honour of the noble admiral with whose victory (The Battle of St.Vincent, fought on 14.2.1797 between the English and Spanish fleets off the coast of Portugal) we had become acquainted, it was named Point St.Vincent.

03.07.1789 Mortimer in Cox Bight

.>. At six in the evening we entered a deep bay, and came to anchor, the Mewstone bearing S.E., distant ten miles.

19.02.1802 Peron in Riedle's Bay

The long-boat of our ship was sent to make the tour of the island, to draw the plan of it, and to ascertain whether there was any fresh water.

10.03.1773 Fourneaux on Adventure in Adventure Bay

At day-break the next morning, I sent the master to sound the bay, and to find a watering place; at eight he returned, having found a most excellent harbour.

23.04.1792 Labillardiére in Recherche Bay

It is difficult to express the sensation we felt, at finding ourselves at length sheltered in this solitary harbour at the extremity of the globe, after having been so long driven to and fro in the ocean by the violence of the storms.

20.05.1792 Labillardiére on South Bruny Island

After the ships anchored in the Great Taylor Bay, Citizen Riche and myself spent the day upon Partridge Island, denominated by some of our crew who discovered it; but instead of partridge we found a great number of quail there.

20.05.1792 Labillardiére along D'Entrecasteaux Channel

Two boats were sent out to transport some of our men to both shores of the straits. They discovered a number of the savages landing from a raft on the east shore. As timid as those we had seen before, they hastened with all possible speed to the land, where they made their escape into the woods, leaving behind them several darts of a very clumsy construction.

24.05.1802 Peron off Cape Lodi

. Every day produced hurricanes and tempests; and so thick a fog surrounded us, that we could scarcely distinguish the highest mountains of Diemen's Land. It likewise often thundered and in the morning of 3rd June, we had a storm of very large hail; a circumstance the more singular as neither the season nor the state of the atmosphere indicated the approach of such phenomena.

08.07.1789 Mortimer in Oyster Bay

The night before we were abreast Tasman's Head. We kept working windward all the night, supposing ourselves nearly at Adventure Bay, where we proposed to anchor to procure a stock of wood, complete our watering, &c.; but at daylight found we had got farther to the northward, and that we were locked and sheltered from the wind in every direction.

24.12.1798 Flinders on the Derwent River

I carried the survey up the river, whilst Mr.Bass ascended the great Mount Table (Mt.Wellington), on the western side. At the northern foot of this mountain lie King George's Plains, a name given by Mr.Hayes to about three hundred acres of pasture land; and in the front of the plains is his Prince of Wales Bay, a small shallow cove. Such names as these led us, at first, into some errors with respect to the importance of the places sought; but after the above examples, we were no longer deceived by them.

09.12.1798 Flinders off Three-Hummocks Island

We were thence led to believe, that there must be, in the large bight, one or more uninhabited islands of considerable size. It was then ascertained to be an island: Three-Hummocks Island.

01.11.1798 Flinders off Cape Portland

Having an unfavourable wind, I waited the flood tide, and them proceeded westward, along the part of Van Diemen's Land to which the name of Cape Portland was given, in honour of His Grace the then secretary of state for the colonies.

29.11.1642 Tasman outside Storm Bay

In the evening, about 5 o'clock, we came before a bay which seemed likely to afford a good anchorage, we had nearly got into the bay, when there arose so strong a gale that we were obliged to take in sail, and to run out to sea again.

02.01.1799 Flinders in Pruen Cove

We landed, so soon as the rain cleared away, and found a small creek in which the water was fresh at a few hundred yards above where it falls into the cove. A tree had been felled on the bank, probably in 1793 or 4 by Mr.Hayes, who called the stream Amelia's River.

10.12.1798 Flinders in sight of Mount Norfolk

The inland mount appeared to be the north end of a second chain, much higher, and better wooded, than the front ridge: it lies eight miles back from the shore, and is named Mount Norfolk, after my little vessel.

13.01.1802 Peron greets South West Cape

I admired those lofty mountains which like granite bulwarks seemed to oppose the raging of the ocean which here stretches to the ice of the Antarctic Pole. I was delighted by the widely spreading plateaux of the interior, rising in the form of an amphitheatre and cloaked in every part by dense dark forests. The sea was rough and the wind blew in forceful gusts from the south-west. The air was cold and foggy and long scarves of mist spread over the greyish-green flanks of the mountains and forests. Innumerable legions of boobies, gulls and cormorants arose from the neighbouring rocks to fly around our ships, mingling their piercing screams with the roaring of the angry waves. A long file of white muzzled dolphins together with many others of the cetaceous tribe performed their acrobatics around us. All this welcomed our arrival at the extremity of the Southern world.

1802 Baudin names Point Bailly

after Charles Bailly, mineralogist on Le Naturaliste.