Rare Books in the Press - 16th-century manuscript could rewrite Australian history
“A tiny drawing of a kangaroo curled in the letters of a 16th-century Portuguese manuscript could rewrite Australian history. The document, acquired by Les Enluminures Gallery in New York, shows a sketch of an apparent kangaroo (''canguru'' in Portuguese) nestled in its text and is dated between 1580 and 1620. It has led researchers to believe images of the marsupial were already being circulated by the time the Dutch ship Duyfken - long thought to have been the first European vessel to visit Australia - landed in 1606.“
“The European discovery of Australia has officially been credited to the Dutch voyage headed by Willen Janszoon in 1606, but historians have suggested the country may already have been explored by other western Europeans. ‘'A kangaroo or a wallaby in a manuscript dated this early is proof that the artist of this manuscript had either been in Australia, or even more interestingly, that travellers' reports and drawings of the interesting animals found in this new world were already available in Portugal,’' Les Enluminures researcher Laura Light said”.