The Wessel Islands group off the north-eastern coast of Arnhem Land has a rather abstruse history in terms of its naming and ultimate cartographic location. Cartographic evidence, and some primary documentary evidence points to a Wesel(s) Eijland initially referring to an island off the southern coast of present-day West Papua. Up until the name Wessel Islands was finally conferred upon its present location by Matthew Flinders, cartographic evidence indicates Wesel(s) Eijland was positioned in a number of other locations. This article traces the cartographic and documentary history of the island’s name and location.

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