‘Kangaroo drawing’ in Portuguese manuscript may rewrite Oz history

Sydney, January 16: A tiny drawing of a kangaroo in a 16th-century Portuguese manuscript dated between 1580 and 1620 might rewrite Australian history, as researchers believe that the images of the marsupial were circulating even before Dutch ship Duyfken came to Australia.

The European discovery of Australia has always been credited to the Dutch voyage headed by Willen Janszoon in 1606, but with the latest evidence, historians are suggesting that the country may already have been explored by other western Europeans, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Laura Light, researcher of Les Enluminures said that a kangaroo or a wallaby in a manuscript dated this early proves that the artist of this manuscript had either been in Australia or travellers’ reports, and drawings of the interesting animals were already available in Portugal.

National Library of Australia curator of maps, Martin Woods, said that while the image in the pocket-sized manuscript inscribed with the name Caterina de Carvalho, looked like a kangaroo or a wallaby, it can’t be taken as the sole proof to edit Australia’s history books.

Woods said that the likeness of the animal to a kangaroo or wallaby is clear enough, but then it could also be another animal in south-east Asia, like any number of deer species, some of which stand on their hind legs to feed off high branches and that this drawing doesn’t really add much. (ANI)