The Christian Foundations of Australia

In the Jubilee History of Queensland,1 one reads "there are those who credit the discovery of Australia to the time of Alexander the Great, 327 B.C….. There can be little doubt that when Strabo wrote fifty years before Christ, and Pliny in the latter part of the first century, and Ptolemy [Claudius Ptolemaeus] in the second, 'of a land of beauty and bounty stretching far to the south of India beyond the equator to an unknown distance' — they…doubtless told the story of some early explorers who…beheld this land. Indeed, there is scarcely a century to be found in which some mention has not been made of this great Southern Land which, in the language of Agathemerus of the third century, 'was the greatest island in the World.'" Professor F.L.W. Wood, in his well-known Concise History of Australia2 indicates that already in Pre-Christian times the Greeks presumed there might well be a great Southern Continent. Perhaps then, suggests Wood, some descendants of Adam might have travelled as far as the Antipodes and flourished there. Thus too thought Albert the Great (1193-1280) and also even Roger Bacon (1214-1294).

Stories from Marco Polo, who returned from China to Venice in 1295, confirmed the Ancient Greek presumption that Terra Australis alias Australasia might very well exist. Renaissance researches in astronomy and hydrography further confirmed the presumption. Thus, by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries European experts knew that there must be a great Southern Continent.

By 1603f, King James the First of England and Scotland had created the "Greater Union" flag — combining England's St. George's cross with Scotland's St. Andrew's cross. Then, in 1605 — just a decade before the Synod of Dordt — the Dutchman Jansz, sent by the Protestant Dutch East India Company to explore what is now the southern coast3 of Indonesia, entered Australia's Gulf of Carpenteria in his ship Duyfken — and followed the coast to Cape Keer-Weer (or Cape 'Turn-Back') in Queensland.

In 1607, Quiros from Peru discovered the New Hebrides (just over a thousand miles to the east of Australia) — which he named:4 Land of the Holy Spirit. Then, in 1616, the

                                               

1 Muir & Morcom, Brisbane, circa 1887, pp. 1f & 10f. 2 F.L.W. Wood: Concise History of Australia, Dymock's Book Arcade, Sydney, 1936, pp. 1-5. 3 Art. Jansz, Willem, in Concise Encyclopedia of Australia and New Zealand [hereinafter styled CEANZ], Horwitz Grahame, Cammeray N.S.W. Australia, I p. 504. 4 See C.M.H. Clark: A History of Australia, University Press, Melbourne, I pp. 14-16. “Until the refutation of Dr. oMoran’s views by E. O’Brien, children in Catholic schools were taught that Quiros discovered Australia, while in the Protestant and State Schools the honour was given to the Dutch — to Jansz or Hartog…. O’Brien thus followed [Captain] Cook not only in his opinion of the site of Austrialia del Espiritu Santo [namely in the New Hebrides], but also in his estimate of the significance of the Dutch. So Quiros lost that sort of pre-eminence.".

THE CHRISTIAN FOUNDATIONS OF AUSTRALIA

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Dutch Calvinist Dirck Hartog,5 in his ship Eendracht, discovered the west coast of Australia.

The American Rev. Dr. Jonathan Edwards's 1739 predictions about Australasia

By 'Australasia' is meant Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and their Dependencies — in the southwestern quadrant of the Pacific Ocean. Twenty years after the Britons on Captain Brooke's good ship Tryal had occupied, briefly, one of Australia's Monte Bello Islands some 200 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia — an important event occurred in the very year of the beginning of the English Civil War, and the year before the Protestant Westminster Assembly met in London. For in 1642, the Dutch Reformed Presbyterian Abel Tasman dedicated to Almighty God his voyage toward 'New Holland' (alias Australia). At length, he discovered and named Van Diemen's Land (subsequently renamed Tasman-ia) — as well as Staten Landt (alias the South Island of New Zealand).

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