History of Australia
Explorers and Expeditions

What were some of William Dampier's discoveries?



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William Dampier did not discover the continent of Australia (as that had been discovered by the Portuguese and Dutch sometime earlier). However, he did explore previously unknown parts of Australia, then known as New Holland.

On 4 January 1688, William Dampier's ship the 'Cygnet' was beached on the northwest coast of Australia, at King Sound near Buccaneer Archipelago on the north-west coast of Australia.

Eleven years later, Dampier was back, after the British Admiralty commissioned him to chart the north-west coast, hoping to find a strategic use for 'New Holland'. In July 1699, Dampier reached Dirk Hartog Island near Shark Bay in Western Australia. Searching for water, he followed the coast northwards, reaching the Dampier Archipelago and then Roebuck Bay. After finding no sign of water, he was forced to head north for Timor.