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Early Ulster-Australian Collectors and the Aboriginal Collection in the Ulster Museum

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 03, 1987


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By Winifred Glover

"The first recorded sighting of the continent of Australia was made by the Dutch navigator William Jansz in 1606 although it is probable that Portuguese sailors may have already reached the northern shores in the 16th century.

In 1623 Jan Carstenz named part of the north coast Arnhem Land after his ship and Abel Tasman explored Tasmania and the northern coast of Australia in 1642-4.

The British adventurer and navigator William Dampier (1652-1715) who visited the northern coasts in 1688 and 1699 was the first visitor to give any detailed and accurate account of the aboriginal population in his A Voyage to New Holland in 1699, published 1709.

Captain James Cook was the first European to visit and explore the eastern coast in 1770 and formally took possession of it on behalf of the British crown."

This article looks at the two collectors who contributed probably the most interesting parts of the Ulster Museum's Aboriginal Collection - Gordon Augustus Thomson & John Lewis Von Stieglitz.

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