Who Discovered Australia?

While several European ships explored Australian soil, the first known landing occurred in 1606, navigated by Dutchman Willem Janszoon with his ship the "Duyfken." Janszoon landed on the western coast of Australia, meeting the Aborigines on this initial visit.

Other Dutch ships navigated Australia in the following years, such as the Batavia in 1629. In 1642, Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania. Another significant Australian discovery occurred in 1770, when Captain James Cook landed on the southeast coast of Australia. On a trip commissioned by King George III of England, Cook claimed the land, giving all of eastern Australia the name "New South Wales."