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The question "Who named Australia?" is not a simple one to answer. Firstly there is the question of the origin of the name, its variants and how and when it was made official. Secondly there is the question of what the name is applying to. Is it a region? Is it a group of islands? Is it the island continent itself? Below are a few important dates and occurrences leading to the naming of Australia.

So who gave Australia its name? If you want a simple answer we would have to say Matthew Flinders. He was the first to know for certain that what he was dealing with was an island continent, referred to it as Australia and his naming recommendation was eventually accepted by the British authorities. However if we found ourselves in a pub surrounded by swarthy Spanish sailors we might become receptive to alternative views.

Footnote: The Australian anthropologist Raymond Dart made one of the most important discoveries of early man. Although discovered in southern Africa, it  may have been Dart's Australian heritage to name the fossil Australopithecus africanus using austral in its original meaning of 'south'. The combination of Greek and Latin however did not sit well with some scientists.

References and resources

In-line References and Citations: White Hat uses in-line references, sources and notes. Wherever you see a small white hat This is where notes and references will appear., rest the pointer over it for a second and a note or reference will appear.

In addition the following resources prove useful regarding the naming of Australia.



You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.