15 August 2007
His Excellency Mr Antonio Cosano, Ambassador of Spain will officially open Spanish Expeditions to the South Pacific from the 16th to 18th centuries, at the National Museum of Australia on Thursday, August 16 at 11.30am.
Spanish Expeditions to the South Pacific from the 16th to 18th centuries marks the 400th anniversary of the voyages of Pedro Fernández de Quirós and of Luis Váez de Torres, who was the first European to navigate the reef-strewn passage now known as Torres Strait.
'Two hundred years prior to the voyages of Captain Cook, the Spanish expeditions established important ties between Spain and the Pacific region,' said Craddock Morton, Director of the National Museum.
The search for Terra Australis Incognita is mapped out across a series of richly illustrated story panels. The display also features tales of the perils of early maritime exploration including storms, shipwrecks, scurvy and fevers which claimed the lives of many of the Spanish seamen.
Curated by Professor Francisco Mellén, President of the Spanish Association of Pacific Studies, the exhibition was brought to Australia by the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX) as part of the 4th centenary celebrations of the South Pacific voyages.
Spanish Expeditions is organised by the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad, with the assistance of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Spanish Embassy in Australia and Casa Asia.
The display is on show in the Hall at the National Museum until September 2, 2007. Entry is free.
For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or firstname.lastname@example.org