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In a century and a half before James Cook sighted and explored the East Coast of Australia hundreds of European mariners had sighted and mapped Western Australia's coastline. Many mariners had landed on its beaches and explored the land beyond. Many of their ships were wrecked on its treacherous coastal reefs leaving survivors to manage as best they could in an unknown land. They were Australia's first European settlers!

Much of this history has only become known in the last 50-60 years and, except for a brief reference to the likes of Dutch mariners Hartog, Houtman and de Vlamingh, has not been incorporated in popular or school history books or Australia's psyche in any significant manner. That is a shame because the period is full of tales of courage and adventure, ingenuity and enterprise, mutiny and massacre, shipwrecks, treasure and survivors.

The VOC Historical Society New Hollandwants to change that.

We want you to know about the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) and its ships and crew which sailed past, landed or were shipwrecked on Western Australia's coastline in particular. We want you to know about Willem Janszoon and his ship Duyfken, and Dirck Hartog. We want you to know about de Houtman, Thyssen and Nuyts, the Batavia and its story of treachery and mutiny,Tasman, Leeman, de Vlaming, and the wrecks of the Vergulde Draeck, Zuytdorp and Zeewijk and much much more. Why do we want you to know? Because it is Australian History!

You might have heard about Dutch ships that were wrecked on Western Australia’s coast in the 17th and 18th century when WA was called NEW HOLLAND. You might even be able to name some of them. But have you ever wondered what happened to the survivors of those shipwrecks? How did they cope with this new land? Did they meet up with the local indigenous people and perhaps even live with them?

We suspect they did. But where, when and how and did it impact on the lifestyle and culture of the early Australians? We need to find out. And we need you to know!

In all these ways we will be .......  enriching Australia's history!

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