Coastline profiles of Tasmania
After departing from Mauritius, the expedition of Abel Tasman in search of Terra Australis sailed south and then southeast, seeking to reach latitudes of 52 to 54 degrees. Poor weather conditions encountered when going further and further south, however, led the expedition’s leaders to abandon this goal and to sail east at latitudes of roughly 49 to 50 degrees. While sailing to the south of Australia, in late November 1642 the Zeehaen and Heemskerck sighted land. They approached the island’s southwestern edge and followed its coastline eastwards for several days, before eventually anchoring in early December at what is the Cape Frederick Hendrick at Dunallay, Tasmania. They named the island Van Diemensland, after the VOC’s Governor-General of the time and planted a planted to claim the island for the Dutch. It would later be renamed ‘Tasmania’. While sailing along the coast a number of smaller islands were sighted, which were named the Maetsuiker Islands, Wits Islands and Sweers Islands, after members of the Council of the Indies.
Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo, on board the Zeehaen, drew these coastline profiles of Tasmania in Abel Tasman’s journal.Please contact Nationaal Archief for reuse and copyrights.