THE GREAT SOUTH LAND
THE GREAT SOUTH LAND
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The idea of a great southern continent was originated by the ancient Greeks, who believed there was a great land mass on the other side of the world to balance the earth. Early navigators and explorers searched for "terra australis incognito" (the unknown south land), believing untold riches awaited the man who would be first to discover and claim this mysterious continent.
In 1606 the explorer Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, sailing under the Spanish flag, mistook one of the islands of the Pacific nation now known as Vanuatu (New Hebrides) for the Great South Land. Believing he had discovered the long searched-for southern continent, he held a mass and set off fireworks to commemorate his discovery. As far as we know he was the first to use the name "Terra Australis del Espiritu Santu" - the "Great South Land of the Holy Spirit" - for what we now know as the nation of Australia.
Did de Quiros pen this name for the great southern continent prophetically? Along with many other Australian Christians, we believe so. Australia is a comparatively young nation, not much more than 200 years old. Its history is one of a tough people in a tough environment. Beneath the breathtaking natural beauty of the land, lies a hard unyielding heart. The early settlers battled the elements to survive in extreme temperatures, loneliness and isolation.
Established as a British penal colony, Australia's cultural roots lie in rejection. Many were transported to what then amounted to the "ends of the earth" for petty crimes such as stealing food. The early convicts, both men and women, were treated harshly and often unjustly. To this day Australians are known for their independent and often "rebellious" nature.
The indigenous Australians also suffered greatly at the hands of many of the European settlers. So much so that the injustice and cruelty dealt out to them is only now beginning to be seriously addressed by Australian society.
Yet throughout its history God has had His hand on this nation. We believe His purpose and plan for the people of Australia has always been one of REDEMPTION and BLESSING. In these last days we will see His Spirit poured out on Australia to a degree never known. We shall see our hurting nation healed, restored and revived as she turns her eyes and her heart to the desire of ALL nations, Jesus Christ.
THE PROCLAMATION BY PEDRO FERDINAND DE QUIROS
Day of Pentecost, 14th May, 1606
Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures, and those present, witness that I, Captain Pedro Ferdinand de Quiros...in the name of Jesus Christ... hoist this emblem of the holy cross on which His person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race...on this day of Pentecost, 14th May....I take possession of all this part of the south as far as the pole in the name of Jesus...which from now on shall be called the southern land of the Holy Ghost...and this always and forever...and to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly.
Quote taken from "Honouring Australia's Christian Heritage" by Col Stringer