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    Re: Flinders' Survey of Australia.
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2008 Mar 21, 04:08 +1100
    As an illustrative example of how the 'top end' (or parts of the northern, tropical region of Australia) are "particularly isolated and barely inhabited", how often these days is a new mammal about as large as a human discovered?

    "The Australian Snubfin Dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni) is a recently recognised species of dolphin, scientifically described in 2005."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Snubfin_Dolphin

    I learned about this recently thanks to a segment on a TV science show
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/       (
    Kakadu Dolphins)
    that showed how research into this species and another, the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin, is being conducted in the South Alligator River, which itself must be fairly unique as a large (tidal for 100 kilometres upstream) river system contained within and draining a national park - the one featured in Crocodile Dundee (movie).
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/Northern-Territory/Kakadu-National-Park/2005/02/17/1108500201631.html

    Map here:
    http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&q=South+Alligator+River&ie=UTF8&ll=-12.424507,132.449799&spn=0.659832,0.944824&t=h&z=10

    However, the South Alligator is visited by thousands of tourists every year, and shouldn't be confused with the much less well-known and less visited area well to its west.

    Also thanks to the marvels of Google, here is a map of this '
    complicated coast with many off-shore islands and reefs':
    http://maps.google.com.au/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=-15.707663,125.090332&spn=5.20177,7.558594&t=h&z=7

    Using the tools at top left this map/satellite photo can be zoomed into, to quite a remarkable extent (scale is at bottom left).  I imagine that these images would make a very useful adjunct to the best nautical charts available of this area, if visited by boat.



    On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 10:25 AM, <frankreed{at}historicalatlas.net> wrote:
    >
    >
    > Peter, you wrote:
    > "This is something that I have heard/read again and again although that, of
    > course, does not make it true.  It certainly sounds unlikely, particularly
    > to anyone from long-established and well-mapped places.  My understanding is
    > that this applies particularly to parts of the north west (the 'top end' of
    > the state of Western Australia) coast that have always been and remain
    > particularly isolated and barely inhabited.  As well, the coast is a
    > complicated one with many off-shore islands and reefs, plus the tidal range
    > is comparatively great.  So all in all a good place to avoid."
    >
    > Yes, I can imagine. It would not surprise me at all if Flinders' positions
    > were still the best available, let's say, fifty years ago. But I would bet
    > they've been superceded. Similarly, there were some positions measured by
    > Cook in the South Pacific that were the best available until some time in
    > the middle of the 20th century. I can imagine one possible exception:
    > soundings. There's no real replacement for direct depth soundings, and it's
    > very possible that there are some from the 18th/early 19th centuries still
    > present on Australian charts today.
    >
    > And:
    >
    > "Did I mention the crocodiles? "
    >
    > LOL. No. But I bet they're friendly and cute.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >  -FER
    >
    >
    >
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