John Daniel (ship's captain)

John Daniel (ship's captain)

John Daniel, (fl. 1681), was an English sea captain who charted part of the coast of Australia in 1681 before, William Dampier sighted the mainland of Australia in 1688.

A copy of Daniel's chart shows that he sighted the "Wallabi Group", off the coast of Western Australia, in the ship "New London". He named it "Dangerous Rocks". A printed journal of the voyage has also survived. In it Daniel recorded:

"With the wind S.W. by W. steering by compass N.E. by E. at 10 a.m. the water was discoloured. A man at the foretop saw a breach rise ahead of us. We put our helm hard a starboard...and weathered the N.W. end of it about half a mile...The breach that we first saw happened to be the northernmost of all, there being several and by our computation [they] are 20 miles in length. Within the breaches, several small white sandy islands were seen, with some bushes on them. A very heavy sea broke against the south part of these shoals. When close to them the mainland was not seen."

Daniel may also have bestowed the name "Maiden's Isle" upon what is now known as Rottnest Island.


* Ida Lee, "The First Sighting of Australia by the English," in The Geographical Journal (April, 1934); reprinted in the Royal Australian Historical Society Journal, Vol. XX., Part V., pp. 274-6.

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