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Did Captain Cook discover Australia?

In October 2002 an archaeologist reported finding an object on Fraser Island, off the coast of Queensland. The find seemed to be a Portuguese cannon. If it was, it would probably have been made in the 1500s. This would be a significant find!

Click to see the report.

1 What would this archaeological find, if genuine, suggest about who discovered Australia?

2 What meaning of discover are we talking about here?

3 If someone had discovered the east coast of Australia before Cook, why might we not know about it?

A letter was written in response to this news (see below).

Cook missed the boat
GREG BAKER, Belconnen
Canberra Sunday Times, 13 October 2002

CAPTAIN Cook may well be credited with discovering the east coast of Australia in 1770 (CT, Oct 8), but we've known for at least 25 years that the Portuguese mapped the east coast 200 years before Cook. See the 1977 book The Secret Discovery of Australia: Portuguese ventures 200 years before Cook, by Kenneth Gordon McIntyre.


4 The writer is definite: the Portuguese were there first. What sort of evidence would you expect to find in McIntyres book to justify this certainty by the letter-writer?

5 Here is one piece of evidence used by McIntyre. It is a map drawn in 1550, and copied from an earlier map. People who support the idea that the Portuguese discovered Australia use this map as evidence. Is it a map of Australia? Discuss your reactions.

 

 

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