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Blog post from Sunday, 21 December, 2014

On this day, 21st December 1817, Governor Lachlan Macquarie, recommended the use of the name “Australia” instead of “New Holland”.

The name had been suggested by Matthew Flinders in his book A Voyage to Terra Australis but Governor Macquarie started to use the name in official despatches in 1817.

In the introduction to A Voyage to Terra Australis, Flinders wrote: ‘Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable to the ear, and as an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth.’

Discussion continued about the naming of the continent. In an official despatch dated 21 December 1817, then-Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, recommended Flinders’ proposal that the continent should be named “Australia”, replacing “New Holland”. (Source - State Records New South Wales, Today in History)

[Lachlan Macquarie? - portrait, ca.1805-1824] State Library of New South Wales,