What do we know about first encounters between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and strangers that visited Australia’s shoreline over many years? Australia had many encounters with explorers from other parts of the world before the Endeavour. Explorers came in search of new discoveries for the advancement of knowledge, trade and wealth.
Students undertake inquiry into encounters with visitors on the Australian shoreline before James Cook on Endeavour in 1770. Students observe and conduct inquiry into the maps and objects from the first European explorers and artworks that share stories of the long-standing trading relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Makassar of Indonesia. Questions that arise about the 'discovery' of Australia will be covered in the learning area 'Discovery'.
Key inquiry question:
What encounters did Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with visitors on the shorelines of Australia before Endeavour?
Encounters with Europeans
View maps from the Museum’s Collections to identify encounters by Europeans on the shores of Australia. As a class extract information to guide the inquiry. Sample questions may include; Who created the map? When was it created? Why was it created? What parts of Australia can be seen? What is missing and why?
Carte des Indes Orientale [Map of the East Indies] | Pierre Du Val
Mar di India | Johannes Janssonius1650/1650
Mare del Sud - Mare Pacifico | Vincenzo Maria Coronelli1696
Carte des Indes Orientale [Map of the East Indies] | Pierre Du Val, ANMM Collection
Conduct research into the Europeans who mapped Australia during the Age of Discovery. Create a timeline outlining the dates of the landings and encounters with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
View the video Mapping Australia (Vimeo 4:46min) from the State Library of New South Wales that outlines the stages for the constructing of Australia between 1606 and 1803. Identify the explorers and the motivations for their explorations. Research the Dutch East India company’s main objectives and resources at their disposal to achieve their outcomes.
In 1616, Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog left a pewter plate on the island that now bears his name in Shark Bay, Western Australia. The plate was later discovered by another Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1697. The plate records the first known landing of a European on the coast of Australia. Learn more about the pewter plate and its significance.
Conduct an online image search of the explorers identified in the State Library of New South Wales video. Identify the style of the image and the purposes of producing these portraits.
Create a video animation or documentary outlining the encounters by Europeans on the Australian shoreline using maps and explorer’s images.
Encounters with the Makassans
Closely examine the artwork The Makassans – The Muldi by Paddy Wainburranga Fordham. Read about the artwork and match the written descriptions of the 12 sections with the images. Develop questions that will guide a student-centred inquiry into the trading relationship as outlined in the artwork descriptions. Sample questions may include; Who were the Makassans? What language groups were involved in the trade? What did they trade and why? Was the trade fair? How did the trading partners view one another? When did the trade stop and why?
Conduct research to describe the trade relationship between the Makassan and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples. Access materials from Australian Museums and libraries. Use graphic organisers to outline the trading relationship.
Analyse the importance of this trading relationship to assess the decision made to ban the trade in the early years of the newly formed Australian government. Relate this scenario to your life. Explain how you would feel if a long-established tradition of yours was cancelled.