First Voyages: Exploring the Southern Coast

First Voyages: Exploring the Southern Coast charts a history of exploration from the Greek geographer Ptolemy’s ancient speculation about an unknown south land, Terra Australis Incognita. It presents rare and evocative artefacts that include some of the first European charts of Australia, souvenirs from James Cook’s Endeavour voyage, Dutch explorers reaching the west Australian coast in the 17th century and Macassans sailing from Sulawesi to northern Australia in the 18th century.

A special focus of the exhibition is the voyages of Britain’s Matthew Flinders and France’s Nicolas Baudin who, from 1801 to 1803, produced the first charts of the southern coast and completed the map of Australia. Founded on a rich collection, the exhibition presents new ways of seeing our history and its lively interpretation includes film and hands-on interactives.

Explore the interactive map and discover the notes and illustrations Flinders’ and Baudin’s artists and scientists made on their voyage.