Early explorers

1. Display this painting for your students. As a class, discuss the following (using the background information as a guide):

  • What relationship might the people in the painting have to each other?
  • When do you think this picture might have been painted?
  • Why do you think the man is pointing to a globe of the world?
  • Why do you think the artist chose the particular colour for the table cloth?
  • What might the tools on the wall be used for?
  • Why might the woman be passing an apple to the child?

After exploring these questions, tell the students the title of the painting and use the background information to provide them with details about Abel Tasman. Ask the students which Australian state is named after the explorer.

Invite your students to create a self-portrait (using any medium). Remind students to think about the objects selected by the artist Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp to convey information about Abel Tasman, and ask them to include objects in their self-portrait that will convey something about themselves to the viewer.

2. Share the following source with your students. It is a map created at about the same time the portrait of Abel Tasman was painted and he was undertaking his explorations. Ask your students to use the map to explain what was known at this time about the region of the world where Australia is located? Students may like to compare the map with a contemporary one.

The explorations of Abel Tasman and others enabled the first maps of the entire Australian continent to be published between 1811 and 1814.

Explore the design features (e.g. labels, illustrations, navigation lines) of the Mar di India map with your students and challenge them to design their own map of Australia using a similar style.

For further information on, and activities about, the mapping of Australia, visit the ABC Splash digibook Mapping the Australian Coast.

Other Treasures sources that relate to the concepts explored in this source include: Endeavour Voyage