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Living with history on Cobourg PeninsulaLiving with history on Cobourg Peninsula

The lonely remains of an ambitious European outpost add to the stunning natural charms of the Cobourg Peninsula.

Story and photos Peter Morton

The Cobourg Peninsula Sanctuary and Marine Park in the Northern Territory make up the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park. This park is isolated and tropical with a rich Aboriginal and European history. There is an amazing variety of marine, bird and plant life and the beaches and sea engender tranquillity in the most jaded of souls.

Prior to the colonization of Australia this area was visited by more people from other nations than most parts of the continent. The first substantial European discovery of northern Australia was by the Dutchman Willem Jansz in 1606 and shortly after, Torres, a Spaniard, sailed between Cape York and New Guinea. In 1623 Jan Cartensz was the first European known to have made contact with Aborigines. He named Arnhem Land after his ship, which itself was named after the village of Arnhem in Holland. Shortly after his visit he was killed by natives in Irian Jaya and a 16,000-foot mountain, Cartensz Pyramid, stands as his monument. Story end

Full story Issue 31 Oct/Nov 2003

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