Christian History Research


1. Historical Background to the 400th Anniversary of the naming of  THE SOUTHLAND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

2. Southland Celebrations & Events

3. Some Early Australian Maps.

4. Southland of the Holy Spirit Celebrations Vanuatu on 14 May, 2006 
With Optional Audio and Video content.






1. Historical Background to the 400th Anniversary.


Dr Graham McLennan

Numerous Celebrations will be taking place in 2006 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the naming of the "Southland of the Holy Spirit. Before telling about these celebrations, one should look at God's sovereignty in delaying settlement of Australia and how the gospel was brought to these shores.


    The nations to our north didn't settle here as the Hindu religion prohibited sea voyages and contact with foreigners because of the belief that there was a giant abyss into which ships would sink and certain death* awaited them if they ventured more than two kilometres out of the sight of land, and a gigantic bird  Geruda, would take them.  Similar stories of the dreadful  kingdom of women* (Chinese), and of the  kingdom of the Antichrist* or Dedjdal (Muslims), prevented them from venturing further south. (Some intercessors believe these fears represent three principalities over this nation).


    The Australian historian,  Manning Clark, in his first volume of  "A History of Australia" says the early inhabitants of the continent created cultures but not civilizations. The first inhabitants, the Negritos, who migrated from South-East Asia , when Tasmania , Australia and New Guinea were part of Asia , were replaced by the Murrayians, who drove the Negrito into Tasmania to the south or behind Cairns to the north. The Murrayians were replaced by the Carpentarians. Later, as the ice receded in northern Asia and Antarctica, the levels of the ocean rose, until Tasmania, Australia, Kangaroo Island, New Guinea, Indonesia and the Malay archipelagos were all cut off from each other.  Clark goes on to say that the Australian Aborigines were not able to protect themselves from invaders because they had not developed sophisticated weapons and other resources, such as suitable seed-bearing plants and domesticated animals. When the Europeans came, the Aborigines were unable to adapt to the white man's ways which meant that the Aborigines did not make good slaves, resulting in their culture being almost destroyed. See link:

 Christopher Columbus made the European discovery of South America over 500 years ago which was to become predominately Catholic. He recorded how he accomplished this extraordinary voyage to the New World in his "Book of Prophecies":

"...It was the Lord who put into my mind — I could feel His hand upon me — the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies-All who heard of my project rejected it with laugh­ter, ridiculing me... There is no question that the in­spiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he com­forted me with rays of marvellous illumination from the Holy Scriptures... For the execution of the jour­ney to the  Indies I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfilment of what Isaiah had prophesied... No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His Holy service... the fact that the Gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time — this is what convinces me".

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.Christopher Columbus      

   Santa Maria                                                                 

 The voyage  by Columbus ultimately led to the first permanent European settlement in North  America  at  Jamestown.  They placed a cross at Cape Henry (now Virginia Beach) on  April 29, 1607, claiming  America for God as his vehicle for spreading the gospel to every nation.  As a result North America became predominately a Protestant Nation


Ferdinand Magellan made his famous voyage into the Pacific of 1519-21, he sailed west via the Straits of Magellan and Cape Horn.. Like many after him  he was driven north by strong winds, so providentially the east coast of Australia remained unmapped for another 250 years. The following account explains why the Philippines (Spice Islands) became predominately Catholic:                  

            On reaching the island of Subuth north of the equator, Magellan instructed his men to build a chapel and an altar out of tree branches "for the festival for the Resurrection of Him who has saved us was at hand".[ The Indian chief, who was pleased with the celebration of divine service, invited the Admiral and some of the officers to eat with him. While feasting on a sumptuous meal of fried sago bread, native bird, and tropical fruit, washed down with a liquor made from the palm-tree juice, Magellan noticed a sick man lying on the floor in the corner of the cabin. After inquiring who he was and what was his illness, he was told it was the chief's grandson, who had been suffering from a "violent" fever for the last two years. Magellan told the man "to be of good courage, that if he would devote himself to Christ he would immediately recover his former health and strength". The Indian immediately "adored the Cross, and received baptism", and the next day he was completely healed, got up and took his meals with the rest of the family. As a result of this miracle, the chief and 2200 Indians were baptised, professing faith in the name of Christ.                  

  It is interesting that a Dutch explorer, Willem Janszoon, in 1606, Jansz sailed south from New Guinea in the Duyfken "the little dove" discovering Cape York Peninsula and charted 200 miles of the Australian coastline, without realising he had discovered a new continent. The full  list of Navigators coming to Australia  from 1606 can be found at: 

Replica of the Duyfken, "the little dove"

Elizabeth Kotlowski writes in "Southland of the Holy Spirit: A Christian history of Australia". ) "Discouraged by a shortage of supplies and the death of ten of his men in the Gulf of Carpentaria , Janszoon returned to Java without ever sighting the rich eastern coast. Like the dove that Noah let out of the Ark, the Duyfken caught glimpses of the land but did not find a permanent home. Australia's time had not yet come. It is interesting that the dove is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. As the gentle dove hovered over the waters of Noah's day, the Holy Spirit brooded over the southern continent, named "La Australia del Espiritu Santo" (The Southland of the Holy Spirit) by a Spanish explorer, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros." It wasn't a very peaceful encounter with the natives, as there was loss of life with the Aborigines as well.


Pedro Fernandez de Quiros



    Several Spaniards voyages set out in the late fifteen hundreds for the South Seas and were now competing against another form of Christianity, the "heresies" of Luther and Calvin. Amongst them was the Portuguese mariner Pedro Fernandez de Quiros. He was a product of the Roman Catholic Counter-reformation and full of idealism and missionary zeal. In 1606, he sailed as far as the New Hebrides naming the main northern island "Australia del Espiritu Santo" with a proclamation of nearly 600 words.

The full proclamation appears at:

A popularised summary that is not in sequence to the original, follows:

  I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros . . . hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross on which His [Jesus Christ's] person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race . . . on this Day of Pentecost, 14 May 1606. . . . I, take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole in the name of Jesus.  . . . From now on, [these islands and lands] shall be called the Southern Land of the Holy Ghost . . . to the end that to all the natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly.

As de Quiroz stated the regions of the" South as far as to the pole" this would include other islands such as New Zealand and the East Coast of Australia including Norfolk Island 

ABEL TASMAN, the Dutch Protestant,  made the longest voyage after  Magellan and was the first European to sight Tasmania and New Zealand. A devout Christian, he sailed from Batavia making two voyages to Australia, one in 1642, the other in 1644.  Instructions to Skipper Commander Abel Jansz Tasman included explorers--Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama--who had preceded him. "What numberless multitudes of blind heathen have by the same been introduced to the blessed light of the Christian religion!" and  was sent  with "the blessing of the Ruler of all things.  "May God Almighty", he wrote in his journal, "vouchsafe His blessings on this work".            

With the discovery by  Captain James Cook  of the East Coast of Australia in 1770, the English followimg the Wesleyan revival  finally brought the gospel to this land through the Chaplain to the First Fleet, the Rev. Richard Johnson, who brought with him over 4000 pieces of Christian literature.


Like the Rev Richard Johnson and his "one Bible" myth, the De Quiros myth that he landed on the East Coast of Australia still persists.  The reason for this can be seen on the accompanying map below, which is one of the very few pre-Cook maps showing only Australia.  Produced in 1753 by Frenchman, Jacques Nicolas Bellin, the imaginary line goes from Tasmania to Espiritu Santo to PNG. The coastal note translates: "I suppose that the land of Dieman can join with the land of the Holy Ghost but this is without proof." 




2. Southland Celebrations & Events




Our Christian heritage will be celebrated by recognising 2006 as the 400th Anniversary of the prophetic declaration regarding "THE GREAT SOUTHLAND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT".


View an invitation to attend:   


The 400th anniversary will be held in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu on the 13 & 14th of May, 2006 in conjunction with the Ministers Fraternal of Luganville and the Evangelical Fellowship of the South Pacific. The Australian delegation has been organised by the Australian Prayer Network and includes celebrations during the National Day of Thanksgiving in Australia on  Saturday June 3rd 2006. Further info can be found on their website at: &


B.                 Celebrations in Cairns

 The strategic Bethany Gate Convocation, with the Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Nations team, the South Pacific Prayer Assembly and intercessors from many nations 11-16th May 2006, to lift up the name of Jesus Christ on the (eight jubilees!) 400th anniversary of the naming of the South Lands of the Holy Spirit. Intercessors will be praying about many issues including the centenary of the passing of the ‘Commonwealth Pacific Island Labourers Act’shortly after Australian Federation, stopping imported labour by 1905, with most of the South Sea Islanders from Blackbirding days  to be returned to the Islands by December 1906. It will be a double centenary in 2006, as Cairns street kerosene/gas lamps were first introduced in 1906. It will be 100 years again in 2006,"and God is about to introduce a new light to the streets of Cairns- the glory of the Lord!"

For further information contact Pastors Norman & Barbara Miller:  07-40510141 


C.                   A National Forum on “Australia’s Christian Heritage: Its Importance in the Past and its Relevance for the Future”

This will take place on August  6th & 7th 2006 in the Great Hall, Parliament House in our nation's Capital.  Several leading Australian historians, prominent politicians on both side of the house  as well as leaders from Christian ministries are involved in the planning of this invitation only  event.

Contact: Graham McDonald


D.                  A National Christian Heritage Museum. 

 Informal discussions are taking place on a proposal to establish A National Christian Heritage Museum in our nations Capital. Like the bequest that created the South Australia's Christian Heritage  theme (Mortlock Wing) within the State Library of South Australia in Adelaide two years ago, the National Christian Heritage Museum will hopefully be financially self sustaining once commenced with donations from sponsors. If you are interested in this project the co-ordinator is Mrs "O J" Rushton email mobile phone 0412504153


E.                    The Children's Prayer Network  is organising a special event at Uluru on Saturday 3rd June 

This will be the official national gathering to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the Great Southland declaration.  Some 2,000 children are expected to travel to Uluru to encircle the Rock, and as the forthcoming generation, lead in the rededication of our nation for the next 400 years.  This event is open to people of all ages and those wishing to be involved in something very special to celebrate the 400th Anniversary here in Australia are invited to attend.  More details will be released shortly and conveyed to you by means of our regular newsletters.   Further Info: 


 F.                    UCB (United Christian Broadcasters) join in the 400 Year Southland Celebrations

                     with their 240 Christian  Radio Stations throughout Australia.



3. Early Maps of Australia.




Terra Australis is the large continent on the bottom of the map

Terra Australis (more completely Terra Australis Incognita, "(the) unknown southern land") was an imaginary continent, appearing on European maps from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.  It was first introduced by Ptolemy, a Greek cartographer from the first century AD, who believed that the Indian Ocean was enclosed on the south by land. When, during the Renaissance, Ptolemy became the main source of information for European cartographers, the land started to appear on their maps. Although voyages of discovery sometimes did reduce the area where the continent could be found, cartographers kept drawing it on their maps and scientists argued for its existence with such arguments as that there should be a large landmass in the south as a counterweight against the known landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere. Usually the land was shown as a continent around the South Pole, but much larger than the actual Antarctica, spreading far north in particular in the Pacific Ocean area. New Zealand, discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642, was by some regarded as a part of the continent as well as Africa and Australia.


Map of Terra Australis

The idea of Terra Australis was finally corrected by Captain Cook. On his first voyage he circumnavigated New Zealand, showing it could not be part of a large continent. On his second voyage he circumnavigated the globe at a very high southern latitude, at some places even crossing the south polar circle, showing that any possible southern continent must lie well within the cold polar areas, and not in regions with a temperate climate as had been thought before.

On the world map of Dutch Cartographer Ortelius the still unknown Antarctica is named "Terra Australis Nondum Cognita" (unknown south land).



Map by Captain M. Flinders 1804.

The first to circumnavigate the continent, Matthew Flinders (1774-1814), the person responsible for naming Terra Australis, Australia.

This reproduction is taken from an original document, held within the Archives of the UK Hydrographic Office, Taunton , Somerset .During his six and a half years confinement by the French in Mauritius he compiled most of his charts, and about 75 of these manuscripts are held in the Archives of the Hydrographic Office

   In 1802-03, Flinders circled Australia, meticulously charting its coastline. Flinder's objective was "to make so accurate an investigation of the shores of Terra Australis  that . . . with the blessing of God, nothing of importance would be left for future discoverers upon any part of these extensive coasts". All through 1802, he made a painstaking survey of the southern coastline of Australia, discovering the state of South Australia, and he was the first explorer to visit the site of the future state capital, Adelaide. His navigation of Spencer Gulf exploded the theory that the southern continent was divided into halves (New South Wales in the east and New Holland in the west) by a channel running from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Great Australian Bight in the south. Flinders continued his exploration of the southern coastline to Port Phillip, present site of the Victorian state capital, Melbourne. When he arrived  in Sydney on Port Jackson, Flinders refitted his ship and continued his exploration of the coastline northwards, making a detailed survey of the Queensland coast and the western and southern shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Matthew Flinders was among the world's most accomplished navigators and hydrographers, though most of his explorations were done in small, unsuitable, rotten boats. In his short lifetime, Flinders circumnavigated Australia, including the island of Tasmania; made the first navigation maps of thousands of miles of coastline; and contributed to the science of navigation (including his invention of the Flinders Bar).








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Above article authored by
 Graham Mclennan BDS






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