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Map of Tasmania's south coast


Map of Tasmania's south coast

Gilsemans, Isaac

While sailing to the south of Australia, in late November 1642 the Zeehaen and Heemskerkck sighted land. They approached the island’s southwestern edge and followed its coastline eastwards for several days. They tracked the islands southwest and southeast shores, observing a number of small islands along the way, which they named after members of Batavia’s Council of the Indies, Tasman himself and the wife of Anthony van Diemen, the VOC’s Governor-General of the time. The main island was named after the Governor-General: Van Diemensland, later renamed to Tasmania. After tracking the coast along the eastern side of the island for several days, they anchored from 1st of December until 3rd of December, the ships anchored near what is now named Cape Frederick Hendrik in Dunallay, Tasmania. Tasman sent out parties to explore and go ashore to find supplies, especially of drinking water, but this proved difficult to obtain. Despite hearing what sounded like music, and observing smoke, they did not manage to establish any contact. A flag was planted to claim the island for the Dutch. On the 4th of December, the anchors were lifted and the ships continued their journey.

Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo on board the Zeehaen, likely drew this map outlining the coastline of the south and southeast coast of Tasmania and the bay at which the ships anchored, which they named Frederik Hendrik Bay. The map also shows several islands observed near the coast: the Borel Islands, Tasman Island and Maria’s Island.

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Sources and literature

Posthumus Meyjes, De Reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher, ter nadere ontdekking van het Zuidland (Australië) in 1642 - 1644. (1919)