William Dampier (1651 – 1715) explorer
“But this satisfaction I am sure of having, that the things themselves in the discovery of which I have been employed, are most worthy of our diligentest search and inquiry; being the various and wonderful works of God in different parts of the world”.
William Dampier was the first Englishman to explore parts of New Holland (Australia) and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. Dampier has been described as the first natural historian of Australia and the greatest explorer-adventurer between Sir Walter Raleigh and Captain Cook.
After impressing the Admiralty with his book ‘New Voyage Round the World’, Dampier was given command of a 26-gunner and made valuable discoveries in Western New Holland, but was court-martialled for cruelty.
He penned some interesting words in the preface of his book “A Voyage to New Holland”. Dampier stated:
“But this satisfaction I am sure of having, that the things themselves in the discovery of which I have been employed, are most worthy of our diligentest search and inquiry; being the various and wonderful works of God in different parts of the world. And however unfit a person I may be in other respects to have undertaken this task, yet at least I have given a faithful account, and have found some things undiscovered by any before, and which may at least be some assistance and direction to better qualified persons who shall come after me. I returned to England in the Canterbury East-India ship, for which wonderful deliverance from so many and great dangers I think myself bound to return continual thanks to Almighty God; whose divine providence if it shall please to bring me safe again to my native country from my present intended voyage.”
Further references :
While Dampier was not specifically ‘an Australian’ he was one of its first explorers.
Image above: In 1966 and 1985 Dampier was honoured by Australia Post issuing a postage stamp depicting his portrait.
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