We have 2 wonderful days at sea. Time to rest and get caught up with blogs and various projects. Gerrit has been working on his sketching with a professional water-colourist who’s on her way to teach watercolour and sketching on the Seaborne vessel currently in Singapore. Sonia and her hubby Jim are 2 of our table mates, a truly nice couple. She is originally from Egypt, Jim from the US. You can see her work at http://watercolorsbysonia.com
We have now left Australia behind and are heading to Madang, Papua New Guinea.
Australia’s original inhabitants known as Aborigines have the longest continuous cultural history in the world with origins dating back to the last Ice Age. Must mystery and debate shroud many aspects of it’s prehistory. It is generally accepted that the first humans traveled across the sea from Indonesia about 70,000 year ago. They were called “Robust” by archaeologists because of their heavy boned physique, followed 20,000 years later by the more slender “Gracile” people, the ancestors of Australian Aborigines. Europeans began to encroach on Australia in the 16th century, Dutch explorers followed Portuguese navigators and the enterprising English pirate William Dampier. Captain Cook sailed the entire length of the eastern coast in 1770, stopping at Botany Bay on the way. After rounding Cape York, he claimed the continent for the British and named it New South Wales. In 1779, Joseph Banks (a naturalist on Cook’s voyage, he was also a great sketch artist) suggested that Britain could solve overcrowding problems in its prisons by transporting convicts to NSW. In 1787, the First Fleet set sail for Botany Bay under the command of Captain Arthur Philip, who was to become the colony’s first governor. That fleet comprised of 11 ships, 750 male and female convicts, four companies of marines and supplies for two years. Many of these never returned to their home land and are today the pioneers of NSW and Australia.