The lonely skull of a wandering European, found at Taree, NSW

by fulltimestudent 9 Replies latest social current

  • fulltimestudent

    This is believed to be the skull of a white (European) person, who should not have been where the skull was found. That's because, Australians generally want to believe that the first Europeans to live in Australia came after Captain Cook. That view, is likely to be a bit of jingoistic rubbish, but it serves the cause of white Nationalism.

    The skull was found near Taree, NSW and has been dated to belong to a person born around 1650.

    You can read the story in this Australian Geographic version of July 3, 2013. Web-refererence:

    The writer does point out. ...

    Dutch explorers made the earliest European landings in Cape York, in Australia's far north, and the country's west in the 1600s. These expeditions aren't believed to have reached the east coast.

    But, I suggest there were likely many more possibilities, and that the easy part of the story (if the testing stands up ) is to locate this person to the vicinity of Australia. The really difficult part would be to imagine this person's travel to get from northern Australia to the north coast of NSW.

    Here's what I wrote for my university study group:

    I do not think we should be surprised to find evidence of Europeans in Australia before the accepted time periods. Some humans have always been wanderers. ( The migrations of pre-history that led to the populating of the planet surely testify to that).

    If the current opinion, that the found skull belonged to a person with European parents who was born circa 1650, stands up to later testing, we have to explain the persons presence on the North coast of NSW. I stated previously, that it should not surprise us. The reason for my statement is that we already know that Europeans were in the vicinity of Australia well before that date.

    We know of three WA European shipwrecks before the mid sixteenth century.

    Magellan had 'found' the Philippines by 1521, di Legazpi founded Cebu in 1565, de Neira's expedition sighted and named Santa Isabel Island in the Solomons in 1565.

    Another access approach must be from the Indonesian archipelago. In 1803 , Matthew Flinders sighted a Makassan Trepang fleet in northern Australia. Some academic studies suggest these fleets started visiting Nthn Australia circa 1720, but an Indonesian scholar believes there is evidence for an earlier date of 1640. Accepting, for this discussion, the earlier date, its relatively easy to believe that Europeans from either the Philipinnes or the Indonesian island colonies could have been in northern Australia in the mid 17th C, although, if so they left no known traces.

    We also know that some Europeans were accessing China during the Yuan dynasty, some seeming to have utilised the Arab-Indian-S.E.Asian-Chinese shipping networks.

    And a SMH news item, in the issue of May 1, 1937 discusses traces of Spanish shipwrecks in the Torres straits.

    Another perspective places Russians on the Pacific coast by 1639. The great littoral trade routes of East Asia could have allowed north-south access. So (to me) the easy part of what may be the story of the person behind the skull, is to land that person in proximity to the Australian mainland.

    The really difficult story, and I stress 'really difficult,' is to imagine that person's journey to the vicinity of Taree, NSW. And, if one person could make that journey, there could have been others, unknown wanderers of the planet whose remains are lost forever.

  • Jeffro

    Maybe Taree wasn't as boring then as it is now.

    That's because, Australians generally want to believe

    Do they? Did you conduct a survey? They might generally believe it, but I'm not sure it's because they passionately "want to". (And I am Australian by the way.)

    that the first Europeans to live in Australia came after Captain Cook. That view, is likely to be a bit of jingoistic rubbish, but it serves the cause of white Nationalism.

    And the fact that some other white guy was there earlier makes a difference to that notion?

    It's entirely likely, if not probable, that there were indeed other caucasians on the Australian mainland prior to Cook. I'm not sure it mandates a 'rewrite' of the history though. Maybe a few footnotes.

  • Simon

    It's probably like how "Columbus discovered America". Yes, there's a guy who is the official one that get's written in the history books. Unlikely to be the actual first one though.

    Maybe the difference is just that one returns with the tale to tell?

  • finallysomepride

    History is a lie

    The history that we have been told is a lie in so many ways

  • Jeffro
    Australians generally want to believe that the first Europeans to live in Australia came after Captain Cook.

    The skull isn't evidence of earlier white settlement in Australia, which likely would have been found before now. This doesn't discount the possibility of earlier exploration or camps.

    It could have been brought to Australia as part of someone's personal collection else after the person had died.

    Or a person may have come ashore from a a vessel to find a watersource, and was then murdered.

  • doofdaddy

    Considering poor navigation knowledge it would be a fair guess that the skull is either Dutch (considering Batavia ((Jakarta)) was a hub of trade for centuries and is just NW of Australia, or Spanish considering the volume of ships attempting to get to and return from South America and all that gold.

    In the 40's a rudder from a 16th century vessel was dredged up in this area by sand miners. Actually I saw it laying near the beach in the 70's until the local council dumped it not realising its importance! Also an aboriginal "clever man" in this area had a Spanish cutless when whites first settled here. He refused to say where he got it. Local legend says there is a wreck in the dunes ( and yes ground radar did pick up an image when the story broke in the 80's but was never investigated as too expensive) and that an old rock wall nearby is the remains of a "fort" created by the ship wrecked sailors.

  • Julia Orwell
    Julia Orwell

    Will be interesting to see what the studies reveal. Taree of all places! Lol.

  • zeb

    My late uncle was very knowledgable of wrecks on the west Australian coast. One wrecked crew left notes written on a cave wall giving their details but he would not reveal where this was. Among the party were two women one too old to have children the other young. The party were lost into history. But an Australian Army man Les Hinds spoke on a tv doco of an 19th century explorers who came across a group of deseert dwelling Aboriginal people who referred to the area they were in a "Mukkety Creek" this Mukkety was their word for -musket. Now the word musket had not been used to describe that particular firearm for generations as muskets were superceded by percussion 'rifles' and so on. They were obviously referring to arms they had been in proximity with many many years before. and the name was handed down. This creek area was in south Australia a longn way and years from the NW where many wrecks occured but the nw was not the only place they occured of course. The only way the ship wrecked could survive was to integrate with the local aboriginal people if the would allow this.

    One aboriginal group in the deepest desertparts of West Australia and the South Australia would occasionally have babies born with bright blue eyes!

    and serve the cause of 'white nationalism'? piss off.

  • Jeffro


    and serve the cause of 'white nationalism'? piss off.

    Oh, and yeah, what he said.

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    thanks for posting this, as I for one find it interesting whenever we find out something they taught us in history books was wrong. However, it is not surprising to me that there would have been individual Europeans in Australia in the 1650's. After all there were European vessels through the Spice Islands all thru the 1500's and possibly the Arab traders were around there before that. Any shipwreck/ runaway sailor/ or even fathering a child could have resulted in the person described.

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