Some time ago, I read a story on the internet about a French eccentric/scientist living in the 18th century who had studied climate zones on the Earth. He came to the conclusion that there were a number of regions on the southern Hemisphere that were ideal for European settlement due to their Mediterranean climate. Among these was the southern part of "New Holland" and that at the time had not yet been claimed by any major powers. So he went about contacting several officials of different countries with this proposal for settling this area, one of whom was a board in the Netherlands of high-ranking people. They eventually turned the proposal down...

  • Are you perhaps thinking of the English geographer Emanuel Bowen? – sempaiscuba Sep 10 '17 at 19:27
  • @sempaiscuba: you are probably right. Note that Bowen copied his map of Australia from a French cartographer, Melchisedech Thevenot. See the second to last paragraph in the "Other works" section of the wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melchis%C3%A9dech_Th%C3%A9venot – Taladris Sep 11 '17 at 6:15
  • Thanks for putting me on the right track! It was actually a Swiss servant to the VOC by the name of Jean Pierre Purry I was thiking of, who did a concrete proposal to the Governor-General! – Fedor Steeman Sep 11 '17 at 7:56
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    You should write up an answer to your question. – justCal Sep 11 '17 at 14:43

As it turns out, it wasn't an eccentric French scientist at all. It was a servant of the VOC originally from French-speaking Switzerland by the name of Jean Pierre Purry. He perhaps knew about the ideas of the French cartographer Melchisedech Thevenot and in any case outlined how the mediterranean climate was mirrored on the southern hemisphere at corresponding latitudes. In a proposal to colonize the land, he enthousiastically wrote how the climate must be highly favourable for settlement by Europeans. His ideas were later referred to by several other authors, amongst whom British Geographer Emanuel Bowen.

More here: http://www.australiaonthemap.org.au/jean-pierre/

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    You should accept your own answer.... – Mark C. Wallace Sep 11 '17 at 18:31
  • I cannot do that yet (7 hours left). – Fedor Steeman Sep 12 '17 at 11:19

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