“They Came to Australia: An Anthology” is a book edited by Alan Brissenden and Charles Higham. Published in 1962 by Angus and Robertson, it is a collection of writings that highlights the experiences of various individuals who came to Australia.

The anthology aims to provide a diverse and comprehensive perspective on the people who migrated to Australia throughout its history. It includes accounts from explorers, settlers, convicts, immigrants, and visitors, offering insights into their motivations, challenges, and impressions of the country.

By bringing together a range of voices and narratives, “They Came to Australia” offers readers a deeper understanding of the diverse cultural, social, and historical influences that have shaped the nation. It serves as a valuable resource for anyone interested in Australian history, immigration, and the stories of those who contributed to the country’s development.

The book includes excerpts from the diaries and journals of several Dutch explorers, including Willem de Vlamingh, Abel Tasman, and Dirk Hartog. These explorers were among the first Europeans to visit Australia, and their writings provide valuable insights into the continent’s history and culture.

For example, Willem de Vlamingh’s journal includes a description of his meeting with the Aboriginal people of Western Australia. He writes that they were “a very friendly and peaceable people” and that they “showed us great kindness.” Abel Tasman’s journal includes a description of his discovery of Tasmania. He names the island after his ship, the Heemskerck. Dirk Hartog’s journal includes a description of his landing on what is now known as Dirk Hartog Island. He leaves a pewter plate on the island with an inscription that reads, “I, Dirk Hartog, from the town of Hoorn, on the ship Eendracht, have set foot on this land on the 26th of October 1616.”

The Dutch explorers’ writings provide a valuable glimpse into the early history of Australia. They help us to understand how the continent was first discovered and explored, and they provide insights into the cultures of the Aboriginal people.

National Library of Australia