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The first known European settlers in Australia were the member of the First Fleet, comprising convicts from England, together with officers and marines.

The First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson, the location of Sydney, Australia on 26 January 1788, after leaving Portsmouth, England, in May 1787.

Originally, the First Fleet arrived at botany Bay on 18 January 1788. Governor Arthur Phillip declared this area unsuitable for settlement for four reasons:

  • lack of fresh water
  • lack of suitable timber for building
  • a harbour that was not suitably sheltered or deep enough
  • poor quality soil

The fleet then moved north along the coast, arriving at Port Jackson on 26 January 1788, the day now celebrated as Australia Day.

There is some evidence that the first European settlers were people who survived Dutch shipwrecks off the Western coast of the continent, but these people were not 'officially' European settlers - they were there by accident, and their names are not recorded.

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13y ago
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Anonymous

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4y ago
No mention of which nation existed at the site Europeans settled, and it's 2020? How are we supposed to erase the lie of "terra nullius" when you keep perpetuating it?
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13y ago

The first known European to land in Australia was Willem Jansz/Janszoon, a Dutchman who was seeking new trade routes and trade associates. Commanding the Duyfken, he became the first recorded European to step foot on Australia's shores on the western shore of Cape York Peninsula, on 26 February 1606. However, he believed the Cape to be part of New Guinea, from whence he crossed the Arafura Sea, so he did not record Australia as being a separate, new continent.

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11y ago

It is believed that the Portuguese were the first to sight the Australian continent, but there are no records within Portugal itself to substantiate the claim. The source for this claim are the Dieppe Maps, which date between 1542 and 1587. However, the Portuguese did not settle in Australia.

The first recorded arrival of Europeans was Willem Jansz/Janszoon, a Dutchman who was seeking new trade routes and trade associates. Travelling in a small ship called the Duyfken, he became the first recorded European to step foot on Australia's shores on the western shore of Cape York Peninsula, on 26 February 1606. However, he believed the Cape to be part of New Guinea, from whence he crossed the Arafura Sea, so he did not record Australia as being a separate, new continent. After Jansz, numerous Dutch explorers charted sections of the western coast, and Dutch trading ships passed by the coastline. As a result, it is believed that some of these ships were wrecked upon Western Australia's shores: there is evidence to suggest that European settlement unofficially began with survivors of these shipwrecks.

As for when permanent European settlement in Australia commenced - that occurred with the arrival of the First Fleet on 26 January 1788.

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Q: Approximately when did the Europeans come to Australia?
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