Today we are going to share some of the things we have been learning as part of our Unit of Inquiry on Australian History and Explorers.
At the start of our inquiry we wanted to know what made people want to explore and what type of learner attributes would you need?
Most explorers wanted to learn more about the world that had not yet been discovered. Others wanted to explore the world by sea in search of trading partners, new goods, and new trade routes.
Explorers faced (and still do face) challenges, had to conquer their fears and were as a result able to achieve great things. They had to be great risk-takers.
Explorers have great courage and bravery. They had to face all kinds of challenges and hardships. Life was not easy for them.
We are learning about many famous explorers. We know about Christopher Columbus. He was born in Genoa (a part of Italy today) about 560 years ago. He dreamed of finding a new sea route to the East Indies so he could trade in the spices growing there.
Christopher Columbus sailed across the seas with tiny ships, poor food and with some of the crew thinking that the world was flat and that they might fall off the end. Once again he kept going – he faced the challenges and persevered, going down in history as the person that discovered America. His voyages changed our view of the world forever.
There was a lack of fruit and vegetables which caused a horrible disease called scurvy. It caused bleeding under the skin. It would rot their gums, which would turn black and blue and grow over their teeth. Many of the sailors died of scurvy every day.
Sailors were afraid to go on these long voyages. They knew that if the food and water ran out, they would die. Sometimes they plotted to kill the captain and turn back. This happened to Columbus in 1492.
Next is James Cook a British navigator and explorer who sailed and mapped much of the South Pacific.
CAPTAIN JAMES COOK: Cook introduced some innovative rules in order to keep his crew healthy and safe. He required his men to bathe every day, the ship to be kept very clean, and the bedding to be aired twice a week. He also brought lots of fresh fruit to keep his men from getting scurvy. These rules and planning helped his men to stay healthy throughout the long voyages ahead.
Cook set off for his first journey on August 26, 1768. His main objective was to observe the planet Venus as it passed between the Earth and the Sun.
James and his crew found all sorts of interesting animals and plants including the kangaroo. Unfortunately, the ship was damaged on some coral and they had to stop for a while to do repairs. Many of the crew got malaria from mosquitoes during this stop and over 30 of the crew died from the disease.
Finally, they returned home in July of 1771, nearly three years after their departure.
Back in March 1606, Dutch explorer Willem Jansz,
Co-mman-ded the Duyfken ship, mapped 300k’s of land,
Sailing down the western side, of Cape York Pe-nin-su-la,
He’d made history by dis-co-ver-ing the land Au-stra-li-a.
Luis Vaez de Torres / Pedro Fernandezde Quiros:
From Peru two Spanish seamen went on search for more terrain,
One named Quiros had rebellious crew and not much did he gain.
Torres led the expedition, he succeeded, found his fate,
Was the first to sail the seas up north, it’s now named ‘Torres Strait’.
When Dirk Hartog sailed to Java, his ship was blown off course,
It landed on an island, the winds had so much force.
He continued sailing north, mapping the WA coast
Then wrote a message on a plate and nailed it to a post.
In 1642, Tasman explored the southern seas,
He commanded two ships and navigated them with ease
He first discovered Tasmania and named it ‘Van Diemen’s Land’
Then found New Zealand and went back to map the space called ‘New Holland’.
An explorer, William Dampier, born 1651
Was first to go around the world, a brave English-son
He sailed the ‘Roebuck’ to New Holland but it took on water fast
Though he managed to get good records of the things he passed.
It was on the ship ‘Endeavour’ that Cook found Bo-ta-ny Bay,
Joseph Banks helped name the flora then continued on their way.
Having found the eastern coast, Cook named it New South Wales,
In Hawaii natives killed him, they lived to tell his tales.
Matthew Flinders was the first to sail around our whole country,
With his wife back in England, his cat Trim was company.
From his efforts we now know Tasmania is not joined on,
Many landmarks with his name show his legacy lives on.