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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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The Duyfken (Little Dove)

by Dot Gallagher

400 years ago, in 1606, Australia was first "put on the map". The Duyfken, captained by Willem Janszoon, landed on the western shore of Cape York Peninsula. Based in Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies, Janszoon set out in 1605 on a voyage of exploration and sailed east until he reached the west coast of New Guinea. Turning south down the coast, he crossed Torres Strait and, while thinking he was still off New Guinea, charted about 300 miles of the coast of Cape York.

Janszoon sent some of his crew ashore at the Pennyfarthing River and nine of them were "killed by the heathens". The traditional aboriginal story is that the Dutch had not asked permission to come onto their land.

A replica of the original vessel was launched in 1999 in Fremantle and on its first voyage sailed north, across the top of Australia and down into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Arriving at the site of the original landing, the captain carried ashore a message stick from the Noongar people in Western Australia. Permission to land was requested, and granted, "peace" was restored and a good time was had by all.

In 2002 the Duyfken replica sailed to the Netherlands where big celebrations marked the journey of 1606. It is now calling at ports all around Australia to mark the 400th anniversary.

On November 8, the Andante walk will be at Ulladulla, to be followed by a visit to the Duyfken.

(August 2006)