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Great South Land

Magellan, the Portugese explorer discovered the world was round in 1592.

Before Magellan's discovery, people thought the world was flat!

Over the years, explorers from Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and England set off in boats to discover the world! Their voyages often took many years.

Many people thought a great land existed in the southern oceans. They called this the Great South Land.

One of the reasons for the explorers' journeys was to discover if the Great South Land existed or not.

Spanish explorers were the first to land in Australia in 1606.


The Dutch had set up The Dutch East Indies Company in Batavia.

Batavia is part of what we now call Indonesia.

Many Dutch explorers made many journeys of discovery from Batavia to look for The Great South Land.

The Dutch did not think the land was worthy of settlement and no country had claimed the land.

The Dutch named the land New Holland.

To claim the land, a flag was placed in the soil and a ceremony was performed.

At this time, nothing was known about the rest of the country we know as Australia.

The next stage of Australian exploration was carried out by another Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman.

Music now playing - Dutch National Anthem

Read about early explorers to Western Australia

Read about the discoveries of Abel Tasman

Link to Timeline of European exploration
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Read about English explorers!