A look at two millenia of journeys and expedition in search of what the ancients referred to as Terra Australis Incognita. Dutchman Willem Janz is the man history credits as having made the first confirmed, recorded encounter of the Australian coastline by Europeans in the Duyfken, but there is evidence there many before him.
Victoria's Shipwreck Coast
The south west coast of Victoria on the Great Ocean Road between Cape Otway and the town of Warrnambool is one of the most rugged and scenic stretches of coastline in Australia. Feared by sailors of old, many of whom lost their lives and their ships on its rocky shores, it is today a magnet for tourists and sightseers.
Australia's Most Famous Shipwrecks
As an island nation, shipwrecks are a very important part of Australia's rich maritime heritage. It is ironic that Australia's oldest shipwrecks are often the least known, mainly because of their isolated locations.
Paddlesteamers on the Murray River
The Murray River is to Australia what the Nile River is to Egypt: a great and ancient river system that has shaped the past and the present and will continue into the future as a national icon. For several decades late in the nineteenth century, between about 1860 and 1890, the rivers of the Murray-Darling were important trade routes carrying wool for export from thriving pastoral properties and returning with supplies for these stations.
The Era of The Flying Boats
Flying boats were used in the 1930s to pioneer the concept of international air travel. Qantas flying boats ushered in an era of stately and pleasurable flying - and they were built for comfort and safety rather than speed. Only 16 passengers could be accommodated during flights with overnight legs, but they enjoyed "the most luxurious saloons ever prepared in an aircraft" spread over a series of tiered cabins including a smoking room and bunk-like sleeping berths.
The Australian shipbuilding industry which had begun with the launch of the 10 ton Rose Hill Packet in 1789 continued to grow with the establishment of the Colonial Government's shipyard in 1797. The ship building industry, although active in various States, did not expand significantly until, in 1911, a naval ship building programme was introduced at Cockatoo Island.
Australia's First Cruise Ship
As she inched slowly away from the berth, the departure of P&O's new gleaming-white ship, RMS Strathaird, heralded the beginning of a new era, though few of the hundreds of people lining the ship's rails or waving from the shore realised the magnitude of the occasion. Strathaird was sailing away for a five-night cruise with just two ports of call - Brisbane and Norfolk Island. It was the beginning of P&O Cruises' first cruise from Australia and was one of the world's first cruises.