WHO NAMED AUSTRALIA?
Brought About by Process of Generation
Ever since bibliographers, historians, and geographers first took notice of Australia there has been discussion and disagreement on the question, 'Who named Australia?" Glancing hurriedly at historical records the natural and feasible conclusion arrived at would be that if Don Pedro Fernando de Quiros has not a claim to the first use of the term as it is now known, he was among the first to use the name from which apparently it fhas been derived.
In April, 1609, when De Quiros came upon land that "seemed to have no end, and was full of great mountains," he con- ceived it to be the Great South Land that he had dreamed about, and which had made him leave Peru, and he named it Tierra Australis del Espiritu Santo. From this imposing title it is popularly sup- posed the term Australia was derived, but as De Quiros did not apply it to Aus- tralia, but to an island of the New Hebrides group, his claim to authorship of the term has been practically dis- allowed. Matthew Flinders is generally credited with having been the first to use the term. He practically makes claim to being the author in his "Voyage to Terra Aus- tralis," published in 1814, in which he says: - "Had I permitted myself any inno- vation upon the original term, Terra Aus- tralis, it would have been to convert it into Australia, as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names
of the other great portions of the earth." One of the charts in the volume bears the title General Chart of Terra Australis, or Australia. Apparently not wishing to depart from the name Terra Australis, Flinders did not apply the term he claimed to be the most pleasing, and throughout his work he clings to the Spanish term. In his introduction to the work he wrote: - "The original name used by the Dutch themselves until some time after Tasman's second voyage in 1644 was Terra Australis, or Great South Land, and when it was displaced by New Holland, the new term was applied, only to parts lying west- ward of a meridian line passing through Arnheim's Land on the north, and near the Isles of St. Francis and St. Peter on the south; all to the eastward, including the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, still remained as Terra Australis." TERRA AUSTRALIS After pointing out that as soon as it was established New South Wales and New Holland formed one land it was necessary that one term should be ap- plied to the whole of the country, he wrote: - "This essential point having been established in the present voyage with a degree of certainty sufficient to authorise the measure, I have, with the concurrence of opinions entitled to deference, ventured upon the readoption of the original term, Terra Australis." Evidently, therefore, he had tried to substantiate his personal liking for the term Australia in favor of the one he adopted by submitting it to men whose opinion he valued, in the hope that they, too, would recognise the advisableness, of using the word Australia instead of Terra Australis. Whatever it was that influenced
him, it certainly did not influence the men into whose hands his charts and maps came, and very soon after the pub- lication of his work the name Australia was in almost general use in commercial and shipping. It was not until 1817 that the term was officially used. Labilliere quotes the inci- dent in his "Early History of Victoria" thus:- "In a despatch to Lord Bathurst of 4th April, 1817, Governor Macquarie acknowledges the receipt of Capt. Flin- ders' charts of Australia. This is the first time that the name Australia appears to have been officially employed. The Gov- ernor underlines the word." It seems that Flinders' single use of the word was the cause of the popularising of the name Australia. DALRYMPLE'S CLAIMS But that he was not the first to make use of the term has been established beyond all doubt. The French made frequent use of their equivalent for the word long before the publication of Flin- der's "Voyage"; even De Quiros had used it. Alexander Dalrymple used it in 1770, when his "Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific" was published. In his introduction he says, alluding to the various divisions of the work: - "I have inserted another head of partition, Australia, comprehending the discoveries at a distance from America to the east- ward." All lands and islands to the eastward of South America are included under that heading, and although the term has necessarily no direct connection with Australia it is possible that Flin- ders had seen the term as used in the volume. Many historians and geographers have credited Dalrymple with the authorship of the term, although there are instances where the name or its equivalent was used long before Dalrymple used the term. De Brosse, in his "Histoires des Naviga- tions aux Terra Australis," published in 1756, used the term Austral-Asia, which he applied to the discoveries in the South Pacific; exclusive of those to which he gave the name of Magellanica and Polynesia. Many people, among them Charles Sturt, the great explorer, credited the French geographer, Malte Brun, with the authorship of the name Austral-Asia, but Brun practically disclaims authorship by his denunciation of the term in the "Geographe Universelle," in which he says: - "The fifth part of the world will be called Oceania, and its inhabitants Oceanians; names which will supersede the unmeaning or inaccurate designations of Austral-Asia, Notasia, Austral-India, and Australia." Geographers and historians who have championed earlv navigators and geo- graphers have also been faced with the fact that De Quiros made frequent use of the term practically as we know it to- day. In a memorial presented to the King of Spain after his supposed dis- covery of the Great South Land, he made use of the term Austrialia, which Purchas later altered to "a note of Australia del Espiritu Santo, written by Master Hak- luyt," which was attached to the memorial. APPROPRIATE TITLE Dalrymple translated that memorial, and his translation of tbe term used by De Quiros, and later by Purchas in his "Pil- grimes," published in 1625, was a mixture of English and Spanish, the Australia del Espiritu Santo. His rendering of the title, however, had a different meaning to that of De Quiros, who is generally supposed to have applied the term, firstly, because his patron, King Philip of Spain, was head of the house of Australia; and, secondly, because it was the King's birth- day and the anniversary of the festival of the Holy Spirit, on the day he took pos- session of what he believed was the Great South Land. Dalrymple's translation apparently means no more than a pleasing, appro- priate title for the new country. Its adoption by navigators and traders was apparently because of its more agreeable and less confounding use for commercial purposes than Terra Australis or New Holland. Flinders' chart would doubt- less have helped to popularise the use of the name. Apparently though none of the men named has a claim to the authorship of the term, its general acceptance had been brought about by a process of gene- ration, similar to that by which Amerigo became America. This, according to one of the early historians of New South Wales, is the most rational solution of the problem. He also is of opinion that authorship cannot be claimed by Dalrymple, De Quiros, De Brosse, Flinders, or anyone else in whose writings it may have appeared, but he admits that Flin- ders' use of the term on his general chart may have been the cause of defi- nitely fixing the place of the term in our geography. At that stage the question remains, un- less we search for the root of the term in the old Latin, from which the French, and the Spanish seem to have derived their early terms for Australia.