The Invention and Discovery of Terra Australis

Granville Allen Mawer

Medieval Europeans imagined the southern hemisphere in terms of folklore, biblical revelation and geographical theory, and the eager expectation of the discovery of rich and fertile landmasses. This book tells the story of invention, purposeful deception and self-deception, and of the discoverers who bit by bit brought the reality home.
Date Published :
April 2021
Publisher :
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781925984453
Pages : 300
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : Available


The southern hemisphere is mainly land. So said medieval Europeans, raised on a heady brew of folklore, biblical revelation and geographical theory. It is how they imagined it. So powerful was the hold of this received wisdom that when geographical discoveries, however insignificant, were made in the southern oceans, they were greeted as evidence that the expected continental landmasses, rich and fertile, might at last have been found.

This predisposition was mercilessly exploited by writers with a view to propound or a barrow to push. The history of southern maritime exploration is therefore one of frustration, deception and self-deception, a process of eliminating the corners in which something bigger and better might still be hiding. This book tells the story of the inventors who sent the dream abroad and the discoverers who brought the reality home, sometimes in spite of themselves.

About The Author

Granville Allen Mawer Is The Author Of Fast Company, The Story Of The Clipper Ship Walter Hood (Plainwords Press, 1994), Most Perfectly Safe, A Study Of Convict Shipwrecks 1833-42 (Allen And Unwin, 1997), And Ahab's Trade, A History Of South Seas Whaling (Allen And Unwin, 1999), The Last Of Which Was Shortlisted For The Queensland Premier's History Prize 2000 And The Nsw Premier's History Prize 2001. He Is A Contributor To The Australian Dictionary Of Biography And Sometime Reviewer Of Maritime Books For The Times Literary Supplement. His Most Recently Published Work Is The Life And Legend Of Jack Doolan, The Wild Colonial Boy (Mulini Press 2004).

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