A Voyage to New Holland
by William Dampier
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Among the New Hollanders whom we were thus engaged with, there was one who by his appearance and carriage, as well in the morning as this afternoon, seemed to be the chief of them, and a kind of prince or captain among them. He was a young brisk man, not very tall, nor so personable as some of the rest, though more active and courageous: he was painted (which none of the rest were at all) with a circle of white paste or pigment (a sort of lime, as we thought) about his eyes, and a white streak down his nose from his forehead to the tip of it. And his breast and some part of his arms were also made white with the same paint; not for beauty or ornament, one would think, but as some wild Indian warriors are said to do, he seemed thereby to design the looking more terrible; this his painting adding very much to his natural deformity; for they all of them have the most unpleasant looks and the worst features of any people that ever I saw, though I have seen great variety of savages. These New Hollanders were probably the same sort of people as those I met with on this coast in my Voyage round the World; for the place I then touched at was not above 40 or 50 leagues to the north-east of this: and these were much the same blinking creatures (here being also abundance of the same kind of flesh-flies teasing them) and with the same black skins, and hair frizzled, tall and thin, etc., as those were: but we had not the opportunity to see whether these, as the former, wanted two of their foreteeth.

We saw a great many places where they had made fires; and where there were commonly 3 or 4 boughs stuck up to windward of them; for the wind (which is the seabreeze) in the daytime blows always one way with them; and the land breeze is but small. By their fireplaces we should always find great heaps of fish-shells, of several sorts; and it is probable that these poor creatures here lived chiefly on the shellfish, as those I before described did on small fish, which they caught in wires or holes in the sand at low-water. These gathered their shellfish on the rocks at low-water; but had no wires (that we saw) whereby to get any other sorts of fish: as among the former I saw not any heaps of shells as here, though I know they also gathered some shellfish. The lances also of those were such as these had; however they being upon an island, with their women and children, and all in our power, they did not there use them against us, as here on the continent, where we saw none but some of the men under head, who come out purposely to observe us. We saw no houses at either place; and I believe they have none, since the former people on the island had none, though they had all their families with them.

Upon returning to my men I saw that though they had dug 8 or 9 foot deep yet found no water. So I returned aboard that evening, and the next day being September 1st I sent my boatswain ashore to dig deeper, and sent the seine with him to catch fish. While I stayed aboard I observed the flowing of the tide, which runs very swift here, so that our nun-buoy would not bear above the water to be seen. It flows here (as on that part of New Holland I described formerly) about 5 fathom: and here the flood runs south-east by south till the last quarter; then it sets right in towards the shore (which lies here south-south-west and north-north-east) and the ebb runs north-west by north. When the tides slackened we fished with hook and line, as we had already done in several places on this coast; on which in this voyage hitherto we had found but little tides: but by the height and strength and course of them hereabouts it should seem that if there be such a passage or strait going through eastward to the great South Sea, as I said one might suspect, one would expect to find the mouth of it somewhere between this place and Rosemary Island, which was the part of New Holland I came last from.

Next morning my men came aboard and brought a rundlet of brackish water which they got out of another well that they dug in a place a mile off, and about half as far from the shore; but this water was not fit to drink. However we all concluded that it would serve to boil our oatmeal, for burgoo, whereby we might save the remains of our other water for drinking, till we should get more; and accordingly the next day we brought aboard 4 hogsheads of it: but while we were at work about the well we were sadly pestered with the flies, which were more troublesome to us than the sun, though it shone clear and strong upon us all the while, very hot. All this while we saw no more of the natives, but saw some of the smokes of some of their fires at 2 or 3 miles distance.

The land hereabouts was much like the part of New Holland that I formerly described, it is low but seemingly barricaded with a long chain of sandhills to the sea, that lets nothing be seen of what is farther within land. At high water, the tides rising so high as they do, the coast shows very low; but when it is low water it seems to be of an indifferent height. At low-watermark the shore is all rocky, so that then there is no landing with a boat: but at high water a boat may come in over those rocks to the sandy bay which runs all along on this coast. The land by the sea for about 5 or 600 yards is a dry sandy soil, bearing only shrubs and bushes of divers sorts. Some of these had them at this time of the year, yellow flowers or blossoms, some blue, and some white; most of them of a very fragrant smell. Some had fruit like peascods; in each of which there were just ten small peas; I opened many of them, and found no more nor less. There are also here some of that sort of bean which I saw at Rosemary Island: and another sort of small, red, hard pulse, growing in cods also, with little black eyes like beans. I know not their names, but have seen them used often in the East Indies for weighing gold; and they make the same use of them at Guinea, as I have heard, where the women also make bracelets with them to wear about their arms. These grow on bushes; but here are also a fruit like beans growing on a creeping sort of shrub-like vine. There was great plenty of all these sorts of cod-fruit growing on the sandhills by the seaside, some of them green, some ripe, and some fallen on the ground: but I could not perceive that any of them had been gathered by the natives; and might not probably be wholesome food.

The land farther in, that is lower than what borders on the sea, was so much as we saw of it very plain and even; partly savannahs, and partly woodland. The savannahs bear a sort of thin coarse grass. The mould is also a coarser sand than that by the seaside, and in some places it is clay. Here are a great many rocks in the large savannah we were in, which are 5 or 6 foot high, and round at top like a haycock, very remarkable; some red, and some white. The woodland lies farther in still; where there were divers sorts of small trees, scarce any three foot in circumference; their bodies 12 or 14 foot high, with a head of small knibs or boughs. By the sides of the creeks, especially nigh the sea, there grow a few small black mangrove-trees.

There are but few land animals. I saw some lizards; and my men saw two or three beasts like hungry wolves, lean like so many skeletons, being nothing but skin and bones: it is probable that it was the foot of one of those beasts that I mentioned as seen by us in New Holland. We saw a raccoon or two, and one small speckled snake.

The land-fowls that we saw here were crows (just such as ours in England) small hawks, and kites; a few of each sort: but here are plenty of small turtledoves that are plump, fat and very good meat. Here are 2 or 3 sorts of smaller birds, some as big as larks, some less; but not many of either sort. The sea-fowl are pelicans, boobies, noddies, curlews, sea-pies, etc., and but few of these neither.

The sea is plentifully stocked with the largest whales that I ever saw; but not to compare with the vast ones of the northern seas. We saw also a great many green-turtle, but caught none; here being no place to set a turtle-net in; here being no channel for them, and the tides running so strong. We saw some sharks, and paracoots; and with hooks and lines we caught some rock-fish and old-wives. Of shellfish, here were oysters both of the common kind for eating, and of the pearl kind: and also wilks, conches, mussels, limpets, periwinkles, etc., and I gathered a few strange shells; chiefly a sort not large, and thick-set all about with rays or spikes growing in rows.

And thus having ranged about a considerable time upon this coast without finding any good fresh water, or any convenient place to clean the ship, as I had hoped for: and it being moreover the height of the dry season, and my men growing scorbutic for want of refreshments, so that I had little encouragement to search further, I resolved to leave this coast and accordingly in the beginning of September set sail towards Timor.



Table 1 Figure 1. Cotton-flower from Bahia in Brazil. The flower consists of a great many filaments, almost as small as hairs, betwixt three and four inches long, of a murrey-colour; on the top of them stand small ash-coloured apices. The pedicule of the flower is enclosed at the bottom with 5 narrow stiff leaves, about 6 inches long. There is one of this genus in Mr. Ray's Supplement, which agrees exactly with this in every respect, only that is twice larger at the least. It was sent from Surinam by the name of momoo.

Table 1 Figure 2. Jasminum Brasilanum luteum, mali limoniae folio nervoso, petalis crassis.

Table 1 Figure 3. Crista Pavonis Brasiliana Bardanae foliis. The leaves are very tender and like the top leaves of Bardana major, both as to shape and texture: in the figure they are represented too stiff and too much serrated.

Table 1 Figure 4. Filix Brasiliana Osmundae minori serrato folio. This fern is of that kind which bears its seed vessels in lines on the edge of the leaves.

Table 2 Figure 1. Rapuntium Novae Hollandiae, flore magno coccineo. The perianthium composed of five long-pointed parts, the form of the seed vessel and the smallness of the seeds, together with the irregular shape of the flower and thinness of the leaves, argue this plant to be a Rapuntium.

Table 2 Figure 2. Fucus foliis capillaceis brevissimis, vesiculis minimis donatis. This elegant fucus is of the Erica Marina or Sargazo kind, but has much finer parts than that. It was collected on this coast of New Holland.

Table 2 Figure 3. Ricinoides Novae Hollandiae anguloso crasso folio. This plant is shrubby, has thick woolly leaves, especially on the underside. Its fruit is tricoccous, hoary on the outside with a calix divided into 5 parts. It comes near Ricini fructu parvo frucosa Curassavica, folio Phylli, P.B. pr.

Table 2 Figure 4. Solanum spinosum Novae Hollandiae Phylli foliis subrotundis. This new Solanum bears a bluish flower like the others of the same tribe; the leaves are of a whitish colour, thick and woolly on both sides, scarce an inch long and near as broad. The thorns are very sharp and thick set, of a deep orange colour, especially towards the points.

Table 3 Figure 1. Scabiosa (forte) Novae Hollandiae, statices foliis subtus argenteis. The flower stands on a foot-stalk 4 inches long, included in a rough calix of a yellowish colour. The leaves are not above an inch long, very narrow like Thrift, green on the upper and hoary on the underside, growing in tufts. Whether this plant be a Scabious, Thrift or Helichrysum is hard to judge from the imperfect flower of the dried specimen.

Table 3 Figure 2. Alcea Novae Hollandiae foliis angustis utrinque villosis. The leaves, stalk, and underside of the perianthium of this plant are all woolly. The petala are very tender, 5 in number, scarce so large as the calix: in the middle stands a columella thick set with thrummy apiculae, which argue this plant to belong to the Malvaceous kind.

Table 3 Figure 3. Of what genus this shrub or tree is is uncertain, agreeing with none yet described, as far as can be judged by the state it is in. It has a very beautiful flower, of a red colour, as far as can be guessed by the dry specimen, consisting of 10 large petala, hoary on both sides, especially underneath; the middle of the flower is thick set with stamina, which are woolly at the bottom, the length of the petala, each of them crowned with its apex. The calix is divided into 5 round pointed parts. The leaves are like those of Amelanchier Lob., green at top and very woolly underneath, not running to a point, as is common in others, but with an indenture at the upper end.

Table 3 Figure 4. Dammara ex Nova-Hollandia, Sanamundae secundae Chysii foliis. This new genus was first sent from Amboina by Mr. Rumphius, by the name of Dammara, of which he transmitted 2 kinds; one with narrow and long stiff leaves, the other with shorter and broader. The first of them is mentioned in Mr. Petiver's Centuria, page 350, by the name of Arbor Hortensis Javanorum foliis visce angustioribus aromaticis floribus, spicatis flameneis lutescentibus; Mus. Pet. As also in Mr. Ray's Supplement to his History of Plants now in the press. This is of the same genus with them, agreeing both in flower and fruit, though very much differing in leaves. The flowers are stamineous and seem to be of an herbaceous colour, growing among the leaves, which are short and almost round, very stiff and ribbed on the underside, of a dark green above, and a pale colour underneath, thick set on by pairs, answering one another crossways so that they cover the stalk. The fruit is as big as a peppercorn, almost round, of a whitish colour, dry and tough, with a hole on the top, containing small seeds. Anyone that sees this plant without its seed vessels would take it for an Erica or Sanamunda. The leaves of this plant are of a very aromatic taste.

Table 4 Figure 1. Equisetum Novae Hollandiae frutescens foliis longissimis. It is doubtful whether this be an Equisetum or not; the textures of the leaves agree best with that genus of any, being articulated one within another at each joint, which is only proper to this tribe. The longest of them are about 9 inches.

Table 4 Figure 2. Colutea Novae Hollandiae floribus amplis coccineis, umbellatim dispositis macula purpurea notatis. There being no leaves to this plant, it is hard to say what genus it properly belongs to. The flowers are very like to the Colutea Barbae Jovis folio flore coccineo Breynii; of the same scarlet colour, with a large deep purple spot in the vexillum, but much bigger, coming all from the same point after the manner of an umbel. The rudiment of the pod is very woolly, and terminates in a filament near 2 inches long.

Table 4 Figure 3. Conyza Novae Hollandiae angustis rorismarini foliis. This plant is very much branched and seems to be woody. The flowers stand on very short pedicules, arising from the sinus of the leaves, which are exactly like rosemary, only less. It tastes very bitter now dry.

Table 4 Figure 4. Mohoh Insulae Timor. This is a very odd plant, agreeing with no described genus. The leaf is almost round, green on the upper side and whitish underneath, with several fibres running from the insertion of the pedicule towards the circumference, it is umbilicated as Cotyledon aquatica and Faba Aegyptia. The flowers are white, standing on single foot-stalks, of the shape of a Stramonium, but divided into 4 points only, as is the perianthium.

Table 5 Figure 1. Fucus ex Nova Guinea uva marina dictus, foliis variis. This beautiful Fucus is thick set with very small short tufts of leaves, which by the help of a magnifying glass seem to be round and articulated, as if they were seed vessels; besides these there are other broad leaves, chiefly at the extremity of the branches, serrated on the edges. The vesiculae are round, of the bigness expressed in the figure.

Table 5 Figure 2. Fucus ex Nova Guinea Fluviatilis Pisanae J.B. foliis. These plants are so apt to vary in their leaves, according to their different states, that it is hard to say this is distinct from the last. It has in several places (not all expressed in the figure) some of the small short leaves, or seed vessels mentioned in the former; which makes me apt to believe it the same, gathered in a different state; besides the broad leaves of that and this agree as to their shape and indentures.



Plate 3 Figure 5. This is a fish of the tunny kind, and agrees well enough with the figure in Table 3 of the Appendix to Mr. Willughby's History of Fishes under the name of gurabuca; it differs something, in the fins especially, from Piso's figure of the guarapuca.

Plate 3 Figure 4. This resembles the figure of the Guaperva maxima caudata in Willughby's Ichthyol. Table 9.23 and the guaparva of Piso, but does not answer their figures in every particular.

Plate 2 Figure 2. There are 2 sorts of porpoises: the one the long-snouted porpoise, as the seamen call it; and this is the dolphin of the Greeks. The other is the bottle-nose porpoise, which is generally thought to be the phaecena of Aristotle.

Plate 2 Figure 7. This is the guaracapema of Piso and Marcgrave, by others called the dorado. It is figured in Willughby's Ichthyol. Table 0.2 under the name of Delphin Belgis.



Allegrance, one of the Canary Islands, its view from several points.

Amphisbaena (snake) described.

Amplitude, difference between the morning and evening amplitude.

Arifah (fruit) described.

An account of several plants collected in Brazil, New Holland, Timor, and New Guinea, referring to the figures in Tables 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

An account of some fishes figured on Plates 2 and 3.

Bahia de todos los Santos (Bay of All-Saints) in Brazil: its harbour and town described. the product and trade of the country. their shipping and timber. the soil and fruit of the country. the winds and seasons. the time of cutting sugarcane. its view from several points.

Bill-bird described.

Birds of New Holland.

Blake, sunk the Spanish galleons near Tenerife.

Brazil, the view of its coast, see Bahia.

Britain (New), an island discovered by the author, well-inhabited, and probably affording rich commodities.

Bubbles, like small pearls, swimming thick in the sea.

Cables, made of a sort of hair growing on trees in Brazil.

Callavances, a fruit in Mayo.

Canary Islands: their product and trade. the character of their present governor.

Cape of Good Hope, its view from several points.

Cashew (fruit) described.

Channel (English) a necessary caution to those that sail through it.

Chattering-crow of Brazil described.

Clocking-hens of Brazil.

Coconut-trees in Brazil.

Cotton (Silk) its growth and description.

Crusia, a fowl.

Cupang, see Kupang.

Curlew, a fowl.

Currecoo (Bird) described.

Currents in the sea, from 7 degrees 50 minutes latitude to 3 degrees 22 minutes north.

Curreso (Bird).

Custard-apple described.

Cuttlefish, see also Scuttle-fish.

Dendees, a sort of palm-berries in Brazil.

Dogs, see Water-dogs.

Dunghill-fowls of Brazil.

Fish of New Holland.

Fish of the tunny kind, an account of.

Fish called by the seamen the old-wife, an account of.

Flamingo, a fowl.

Flying-fish, betwixt the Canaries and Cape Verde Islands.

Frape-boat, its use at the salt-pond at Mayo.

Galena pintada, a bird, described.

Galleons (Spanish) sunk by Admiral Blake, near Tenerife, and continue still there.

Gerrit Denis (Garrett Dennis) Isle, its inhabitants described.

Iguana (Guano), (beast) of New Holland.

Guinea-hens, see Galena pintada.

Guinea (New) its natives, etc.

Hammocks, gentlemen carried about in them at Bahia in Brazil.

Holland (New): coast described. its natives described. views of several parts of its coasts and islands from several points.

Jago (St.): island and town. its inhabitants. its product. its animals. its road a very bad one. its view.

Jenetae (Bird) described.

Jenipah or Jenipapah (fruit) described.

Ingwa (fruit) described.

Laguna in Tenerife described.

Lancerota, one of the Canary Islands, its view from several points.

Mackeraw (bird) described.

Malmsey wine grows in the island Tenerife.

Mayo, one of the Cape Verde Islands: its view. its description. a large account of the making salt there. its soil and product. its inhabitants. its view from several points.

Mendibee (fruit).

Mericasah (fruit) described.

Miniola, a fowl.


Muckishaw (fruit) described.

Mungaroo (fruit) described.

Musteran-de-ova (fruit) described.

Noddy-bird described.

North-west winds give notice beforehand of their coming, at Port Oratavia in Tenerife, and how provided against.

Oratavia, a port in Tenerife.

Otee (fruit) described.

Palm-berries in Brazil.

Papah, a fruit described.

Passage possibly to the south of New Holland and New Guinea into the Great South Sea eastward.

Petango (fruit) described.

Petrel (bird) described.

Petumbo (fruit) described.


Pineon (fruit).

Pintado-bird described.

Plants, an account of them.

Plants engraven on copper, Tables 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Plants of New Holland.


Portuguese civil to the author.

Rabek, a fowl.

Raccoon of New Holland.

Remora (fish) Plate 11 Figure 6.

Rosemary Island in New Holland, the plant resembling rosemary from which the author gives this name to the island, is figured.

Salt, a large account of the method of making it at Mayo.

Salt-ponds at Mayo, kern only in the dry season, others in the West Indies in the wet only.

Santa Cruz in Tenerife, its road, town and harbour described.

Seamen: in great danger of sickness, by neglecting to shift their wet clothes in hot countries. their ignorance and obstinacy, a great impediment in long voyages.

Seaweeds, see weeds.

Shark of New Holland described.

Shark's Bay in New Holland described.

Shearwater (bird) described.

Ship (the author's) foundered at sea.

Ship of 50 guns built at Brazil.

Skipjack (fish) described.

Snake, see Watersnake, and Amphisbaena.

Soursop (fruit) described.

Sugar, the way of refining it in Brazil with clay.

Tasman's chart rectified.

Tenerife: its wines and fruits and animals. its north-west view.

Timber at Brazil as good and more durable than any in Europe.


Trees of New Holland.

Turtle: lay their eggs in the wet season. why not eaten by the Spaniards as by the English.

Turtledoves of Brazil.

Variation: where it is increased in sailing easterly. where decreased in sailing easterly. its uncertainty, and the difficulty of taking it. a large table of variations observed in this voyage.

Water-dog of Brazil.

Watersnake: of Brazil, its wonderful manner of catching its prey. of New Holland.

Weeds floating in the sea.

Whales (dead) eaten by fowls.

Whales, the catching and use of them in Brazil.

Whales of New Holland.

Winds uncertain near the Line.

Yemma (bird) described.


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