Books  General Natural History  Biography, Exploration & Travel 

Discovering the Great South Land

By: B Heath

192 pages, 24 col photos, 36 bw illus

Rosenberg Publishing Pty Ltd

Paperback | Dec 2005 | #161234 | ISBN: 1877058319
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £7.99 $11/€9 approx

About this book

This is the story of the evolution of the sailing ships that gradually linked Australia to Europe. The book explains how the navigational problems of Australia's huge coastline were conquered by ships that were at the cutting-edge of technology for their time. The story covers the period from antiquity until the arrival of Britain's First Fleet at Botany Bay in January 1788 and highlights the rapid improvement of ship construction after the European Renaissance began the trend to reasoned experiment that replaced ignorance and dogma and made possible long return voyages to the ends of the earth. The author has been able to draw upon his experience in measurement technology to show that the improvements in ship design after the Middle Ages arose principally from the invention of increasingly precise measuring instruments such as the accurate clock and the lenses used in microscopes and telescopes. The ship's wheel, copper hull sheathing, antiscorbutic diet to counter scurvy and the sextant were all invented not long before the British colonised Australia. The book contains numerous maps and illustrations that highlight the maritime technology inherited by the British from the ships of Scandinavia, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and France who pioneered the ocean pathway to Australia.


An Unapproachable Land; Searching for Longitude; Challenging the Atlantic; Portugal Challenges Asia; Europe Finds the Pacific; The Unknown Southland; Carracks, Galleons and East Indiamen; The Dutch Arrive in Asia; The Discovery of Western Australia; Unveiling the Great Southland; Tragedy and Triumph in the Southland; Evolution of the Full-Rigged Warship; Britain Arrives in New Holland; The Longitude Problem Solved; The Discovery of New South Wales; The Race to Colonise the Pacific; Maritime Science After the Enlightenment; Index.

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Byron Heath was born and educated in Hobart and became a chartered electrical engineer in 1961. He held senior engineering positions in Tasmania, specialising in the operation of electrical standards laboratories and the commissioning of hydro-electric power stations. He now lives with his wife in Adelaide and has published several articles on the Dutch discoveries around Australia.

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