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9 corrections, most recently by InstituteOfAustralianCulture - Show corrections

WHO NAMED AUSTRALIA?

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.

Sir, — The question has been asked, who named Australia? The answer is Queiros did.

When, on May 3, 1606, the celebrated Por-  

tuguese navigator landed in the big bay of Santo, New Hebrides, he thoroughly believed that he had set foot on the great southern continent, the land of his dreams, the Java Mayor of Jave-la-Grande of the maps of the period. He took possession in the name of Philip

III. of Spain, in whose service he was, and named the land the Tierra Austrialia del   Espiritu Santo, the literal translation of which would be the Austrialian land of the Holy Ghost. On that occasion Queiros's in-    

tention was evident, for he says: "Por felice memoria de V. M. y por el apellido de Austria,  

le di por nombre (a aquella tierra) la Aus- trialia del Espiritu Santo, porque es su mismo dia tomo posesion de ella." For the  

happy memory of your Majesty, and for the sake of the name of Austria, I named it (the said land) la Austrialia del Espiritu Santo,   because in your day (the anniversary of your birth) I took possession of it.

But this is not the only name that Queiros gave to the great south land. In the course of 50 months the persevering navigator, who hoped to revisit and colonise the land he had discovered forwarded no less than 50 memo- rials to the King of Spain. Eight of those have been preserved and printed. The first was written in 1607, and in it Austrialia ap- pears (see Zaragoza, vol. 2, p. 191, 201, 229, 241). On page 236, however, the word Aus- tralia takes its place. I pointed this out 10 years ago in my book, "The Discovery of Australia," p. 247. I say: "In de Quiros's   diary or journal, where he speaks of the tak- ing possession of this land, which he believed formed part of a continent, he makes use of the term Australia. Formal possession of the country was taken on the day of the Pasch   of the Holy Ghost, May 14, and he says that he   took possession of all the lands, those seen, and those to be seen, of all that part of the south as far as the South Pole, that from that day was to be called Australia del Espiritu Santo. His words are ". . . de todas las tierras que dejo vistas y estoy viendo, y de toda esta parte del Sur pasta su polo, que desde ahora so ha de llamar Australia del Espiritu Santo."   In the second memorial (5th forwarded) the term "La parte Austrialia Incognita" is used     (see Zaragoza, vol. 2, p. 217). The other terms used in the other memorials are Aus- trial, La Austrial, Java Mayor, etc. Tor- quemada, who wrote under Queiros's dicta- tion, terms the land he discovered Tierra Austral, etc. Don Diego de Prado's map of   Santo bears the name Austrialia.

The first map on which the word Australia occurs was published in St. Petersburg in the year 1824. It is in Krusenstern's "Atlas de l'Ocean Pacifique.

I am, etc., GEORGE COLLINGRIDGE.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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