Jean Pierre Purry was a Swiss explorer who presented a plan to the Dutch Governor General of the Dutch East Indies in Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia) in 1717 to establish a settlement in Australia. His plan was to settle in the vicinity of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Purry was born in June 8, 1675, in the town of La Sarraz in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. He became a soldier in the service of the Dutch East India Company. He arrived in Batavia in 1708 and later became an officer in the Dutch military. In 1717, he proposed a plan to establish a settlement in Australia to the Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, Johannes van den Bosch.
Purry’s plan was based on his belief that Australia had vast natural resources, including gold, silver, and precious stones, that could be exploited by the Dutch. He proposed that a settlement be established on the Eyre Peninsula, which he believed was an ideal location for a port and could serve as a base for further exploration and exploitation of the continent.
Proposing to colonise “the Land of Nuyts”. Purry speculated that a unspecified land with a latitude corresponding to that of New Holland “might contain richer mines of Gold and Silver than Chili, Peru, or Mexico”. Purry advanced the view that a latitude of between 31˚ and 33˚(North or South) was highly propitious for the cultivation of vines, fruits and plants.
However, Purry’s plan was rejected by the Dutch authorities in Batavia. The reasons for the rejection are unclear, but it is possible that they did not consider Australia to be a viable location for a settlement, or that they did not have the resources to undertake such an enterprise at the time.
In June 1726 Pury was granted permission to start a colony in Carolina (America). In 1731 he led an expedition to Carolina and founded the Colony of Purrysburg along the Savannah River. In 1732 the first convoy of settlers arrived, Swiss-French Huguenots, Swiss-German Lutherans, and Austrian and Italian Protestant refugees. The colony was relatively unsuccessful. Pury died there of malaria in 1736.