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Earliest known published illustration of Aboriginal Australians from Nieuwe reystogt rondom de werreld1698 — 72

by William Dampier

This engraved illustration shows the English explorer William Dampier and his crew interacting with Bardi people of Western Australia’s Kimberley region in 1688. It is from the Dutch version of Dampier’s book Nieuwe reystogt rondom de werreld ... (New Voyage Around the World) published in Amsterdam ten years later, in 1698 — 72 years before Lieutenant James Cook landed on Australia’s east coast.Dampier and the crew of the privateer Cygnet spent three months in Western Australia at what is now known as the Dampier Peninsula, investigating the coast and its resources. He became familiar with some of the local people. When he offered three Bardi men European clothing, then asked them to carry barrels of fresh water to his boat, they refused. ‘So we were forced to carry our Water ourselves,’ Dampier wrote. ‘They very fairly put the clothes off again, and laid them down as if Clothes were only for working in. I did not perceive that they had any great liking for them at first. Nor did they seem to admire anything that we had.’