Discoveries in Australia and New Guinea

This slideshow features illustrations of some of the plants and animals that William Dampier, a naturalist and pirate, observed in Australia (then known as New Holland) and New Guinea. Learn more about Dampier in the Ocean Portal article The Pirate Who Collected Plants.

As soon as Dampier set foot in Australia, he began making observations and collecting specimens of plants, which he carefully pressed between the pages of books to be studied by the “ingenious” and “curious” upon his return to England. As Dampier conducted his investigations, his artist made detailed sketches like these.
Three hundred year old pen and ink drawing of a "strange and large" bat.As Dampier studied the plants he encountered in Australia, he wrote that they were “for the most part unlike any I had seen elsewhere.” In fact, nearly all the plants Dampier observed were entirely unknown to botanists at that time.Pirate William Dampier's shipboard artist carefully recorded the species that Dampier found new and unusual.After leaving Australia, Dampier and his men reached the western coast of New Guinea on New Year’s Day 1700. There Dampier observed birds that he had never seen before, like the “stately land-fowl” shown here.Illustrations of fish and crab from New Guinea