YOU ARE INVITED TO A BOOK LAUNCH: Barbara Miller - THE EUROPEAN QUEST TO FIND TERRA AUSTRALIS INCOGNITA: Quiros, Torres and Janszoon
Address: Behan St Entrance, Manunda, Cairns
Date: March 13, 2014
Ticket: PAPERBACK Price: $24.99 Discounted to $19.99 during launch
Many Australians were taught Englishman James Cook discovered Australia but Cook came 164 years later than the Dutch and Spanish explorers. The Indigenous people were there from time immemorial. Quiros thought he’d discovered the south land when he landed at today’s Vanuatu. Torres continued and found the Torres Strait separated New Guinea from the south land.
Despite all the passion of the Spanish quest, the Dutch under Janszoon beat Torres to Australia by about six months in 1606. They had deadly encounters with the Aboriginal people of western Cape York, Queensland.
Review by Cairns historian
This is a highly insightful coverage of the main historical characters in the early European exploration of the South West Pacific, a topic which is virtually unknown to most Australians. Miller deftly contextualises the men: Quiros (‘the Don Quixote of the South sea’), Torres and Janszoon with their voyages in the 16th and 17th centuries. Similarly, she places the actions of these adventurers in the context of the respective Indigenous responses to contact. From the Wik at Aurukun and the Tjungundji and others around (Old) Mapoon on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, to the descendants at Big Bay on Vanuatu and other Melanesian groups, the author brings the reader up-to-date with the reconciliation process and the Indigenous perspective on these early European contacts. This is a valuable contribution to not only understanding Australian history, but is also relevant to the Islands of Melanesia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
Dr Timothy Bottoms, author of Conspiracy of Silence – Queensland’s frontier killing times (Allen & Unwin 2013)
ISBN: coming, 332 pages, over 80 photos & maps