Have you ever thought about the number of things we take for granted that are discovered by accident? Christopher Columbus discovered an entire continent by accident. Penicillin was discovered by accident. Much like these other incidents, Australia was discovered by accident when looking for something else.
supplies for our discovery of Australia
maps you can write on(learn how I made my wall maps), row boat like from this Lego Junior Pirate set*, a few guys or so (like the Lego education fantasy and historical figures set* or Lego Pirates Chess set*, watch for the price to go lower, I got it for under $40), and Mystery of History 3*, Wondermaps*
Discovery of Australia lesson
While the Europeans had given up on the idea of finding Prestor John, there was still one legend they had not yet disproved. They believed somewhere was all of King Solomon’s gold. If you read the Bible and learn about King Solomon you learn he had a lot of money. Before you start thinking the Europeans of 1600 were foolish, think about our legends.
We watch movies like National Treasure* that say the Masons got all of King Solomon’s gold during the Crusades, and it’s hidden in the United States. The Librarian* movies also has a bit about King Solomon’s gold. It’s a popular legend, so I don’t really blame them for thinking you can find some of his gold somewhere.
Well, Willem Janszoon set out to find Solomon’s gold. He sailed East around Africa and set out to find the large island rumored to be South of Indonesia.
And then disaster struck as a giant monster crossed the world disrupting everything. Or I made a mistake and did this lesson on the floor and my dog walked across the maps. You decide which is more likely.
Janszoon turned South and ran into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Then he turned and hit Cape York.
Well, if you’re an explorer and you find a brand new land mass to explore, what would you do? That’s right land that boat. But, the natives he met were hostile, and in this encounter he had 10 men die. To make it worse the land was swampy, and there was no sign of Solomon’s gold.
Obviously Janszoon was in the wrong spot, there was no sign of King Solomon’s gold. So he headed up the coast of Australia and wandered about there charting and mapping it.
Interestingly enough, the first permanent European colony doesn’t happen for over 100 years, and that’s the Botany Bay. I have to admit I’m curious why that is. Do you know why?