Topic: Australia/Australian maritime history

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🔗 Ben Carlin

🔗 Biography 🔗 Australia 🔗 Transport 🔗 Transport/Maritime 🔗 Australia/Australian maritime history 🔗 Australia/Western Australia 🔗 Australia/Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific military history

Frederick Benjamin "Ben" Carlin (27 July 1912 – 7 March 1981) was an Australian adventurer who was the first person to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle. Born in Northam, Western Australia, Carlin attended Guildford Grammar School in Perth, and later studied mining engineering at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines. After qualifying as an engineer, he worked on the Goldfields before in 1939 emigrating to China to work in a British coal mine. In the Second World War, Carlin was posted to the Indian Army Corps of Engineers, serving in India, Italy, and throughout the Middle East. After his discharge from service in 1946, he emigrated to the United States with his American wife, Elinore (née Arone).

Sparked by an idea he had had whilst in the military, Carlin proposed that the couple honeymoon by crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a modified Ford GPA (an amphibious version of the Ford GPW Jeep), which they named the Half-Safe. Beginning their trip in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Carlins finally completed the transatlantic crossing in 1951, after unsuccessful attempts. From there, they travelled to Europe, temporarily settling in Birmingham to raise more money. They resumed their journey in 1954, travelling overland through the Middle East before arriving in Calcutta. After a short fundraising trip to Australia, Carlin's wife left to return to the United States. He resumed the journey with new partners, travelling through South-East Asia and the Far East to the northern tip of Japan, and then to Alaska. After an extended tour through the United States and Canada, he and Half-Safe finally returned to Montreal, having travelled over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 mi) by land during a ten-year journey. Following Carlin's death in 1981, Half-Safe was acquired by Guildford Grammar, his old school, where it remains on display.

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🔗 Theory of the Portuguese discovery of Australia

🔗 Australia 🔗 Portugal 🔗 Australia/Australian maritime history 🔗 Australia/History of exploration

The theory of Portuguese discovery of Australia claims that early Portuguese navigators were the first Europeans to sight Australia between 1521 and 1524, well before the arrival of Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606 on board the Duyfken who is generally considered to be the first European discoverer. This is based on the following elements:

  • The Dieppe maps, a group of 16th-century French world maps, which depict a large landmass between Indonesia and Antarctica. Labelled as Java la Grande, this land mass carries French, Portuguese, and Gallicized Portuguese placenames, and has been interpreted by some as corresponding to Australia's northwestern and eastern coasts.
  • The presence of Portuguese colonies in Southeast Asia from the early 16th century, particularly Portuguese Timor – approximately 650 kilometres from the Australian coast – c. 1513–1516.
  • Various antiquities found on Australian coastlines, claimed to be relics of early Portuguese voyages to Australia, which are more commonly regarded as evidence of Makassan visit of Northern Australia.

Precedence of Australia's discovery has also been claimed for China (Admiral Zheng), France, Spain, and even Phoenicia.

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