General Timeline of Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin: A Voyage of Discovery

Hardcopy: OUT OF PRINT
PDF: Available

Charles Darwin A Voyage of Discovery poster


  • NSW map (PDF - 300 KB)
    Map of Darwin’s journey from Sydney to Bathhurst
  • TAS map (PDF - 300 KB)
    Map of Darwin’s journey of Hobart Town and surrounding region
  • WA map (PDF - 300 KB)
    Map of Darwin’s journey of King George Sound and surrounding region


  • Tables (XLS - 87 KB)
    All tables for the activities contained in the booklet

A message from Peter Garrett

This year, the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of his work, On the Origin of Species. Australia is also commemorating the five-year, round-the-world voyage that brought a youthful Darwin to Australia and saw him discover an abundance of new species.

The Australian Biological Resources Study and the Australian Science Teachers Association have made an outstanding contribution to this anniversary year by producing this resource book on Darwin’s experiences in Australia. There is much still to be discovered about Australia’s plants and animals and I encourage teachers to use this book to inspire the next generation of species discoverers.

Peter Garrett
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts
March 2009


This poster and related booklet has been funded by the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) to commemorate two important events occurring in 2009 — the bi-centenary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species. Although has been created specifically for this year of celebrations, the activities have been designed so they can continue to be used in the future.

A Background information section has been included to provide teachers with an outline of Darwin’s interests and ways of working, his historic theory of natural selection, how he came to visit Australia on the Beagle and his connections to well-known early residents of Australia.

The diverse range of activities included is designed for students in the middle years of schooling (Years 6–9) throughout Australia and will acquaint them with Darwin’s Australian connections, his greatest contribution to science — his theory of natural selection, his methods of obtaining evidence and the relevance of his theory today.

Darwin’s great theory

The idea that living things had evolved was put forward in Darwin’s time, but no satisfactory mechanism by which this had occurred had been described. Darwin indicated the mechanism and provided an enormous body of evidence in its support.

Darwin explained that plants and animals change over time through a process of Natural Selection and that this occurs because:

  1. Not all plants and animals in a population are alike.
  2. More young are born than can hope to survive for long enough to reproduce.
  3. Those plants and animals with features best suited to their environment (‘the fittest’) are more likely to survive and reproduce.
  4. These survivors pass their desirable features on to their offspring.
  5. Gradually these features become more common and the population changes over time.
  6. If the changes are great enough they could produce a completely new species of plant or animal altogether.

Note: Bacteria and viruses had not been identified in Darwin’s time, but his theory holds true for all organisms.

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