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Dutch flag Dutch flag 150 years of exploration and mapping of the North, West and South coast of Australia
by Dutch VOC mariners 1606 - 1756.

1606 Captain Willem Janszoon in the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) ship Duyfken landed on Australia's northern coast on the western side of Cape York Peninsula at Pennefather River and charted 300 kilometers of coastline. This was the first time Europeans had made contact with and mapped part of Australia.
1616 Dirck Hartogh, Captain of the VOC ship Eendracht, became the first European to set foot on Western Australian soil when he landed on an island, at the entrance to Shark Bay, now bearing his name. He left behind an inscribed pewter plate. Continued sailing north along the coast calling the land "Eendracht's Land".
1618 Captain Haevik Claeszoon van Hillegom and Upper Merchant Pieter Dirkzoon in the VOC ship Zeewolf sighted the west coast of Australia in the vicinity of North West Cape.
1618 Captain Lenaert Jacobszoon and Upper Merchant Willem Janszoon (Captain of the Duyfken in 1606) in the VOC ship Mauritius sighted the coast at North West Cape in Western Australia.
1619 Captain Frederick de Houtman in the VOC ship Dordrecht and Jacob d'Edel, Councillor of the Indies, in the VOC ship Amsterdam sighted the land south of the mouth of the Swan River which they called "d'Edelsland". de Houtman sailed north keeping the coast in sight when he came across small islands surrounded by coral reefs (Houtman Abrolhos).
1622 The VOC ship Leeuwin was almost shipwrecked at the south western extremity of Western Australia now called Cape Leeuwin.
1622 The ship Wapen van Hoorn was almost shipwrecked on the west coast.
1623 Captain Jan Carstenszoon in the VOC ship Pera and Captain Willem van Coolsteerd in the VOC ship Arnhem explored the south coast of New Guinea and the western side of Cape York Peninsula. Cartenszoon charted the Gulf of Carpentaria naming it in honour of Pieter de Carpentier, the Governor-General in Batavia. van Coolsteerd charted the land now called Arnhem Land.
1623 Captain Claes Hermanszoon in the VOC ship Leyden charted further regions of the west coast south of Shark Bay.
1624 The ship Tortelduyf discovered Tortelduyf Island off the west coast south of the Houtman Abrolhos.
1626 Captain Daniel Janssen Cock sighted "Zuydtland" in the VOC ship Leyden.
1627 Captain Francois Thyssen and Peter Nuyts, Councillor of the Indies, in their VOC ship Gulden Zeepaert charted the southern region from Cape Leeuwin to Nuyts Archipelago, some 1800 kms, naming the area "Nuyt's Land". They also discovered 2 islands which they named St Francis and St Pieter.
1627 Commander Jan Pieterszoon Coen, who was later to become Governor-General of the East Indies, charted land on the west coast at Latitude 2830'S in the VOC ships Galias, Utrecht and Texel. He later stressed the importance of accurate charting to the Directors of the VOC.
1627 The VOC ship Wapen van Hoorn, commanded by Upper Merchant J van Roosenbergh, charted more parts of the west coast not far from Dirk Hartog Island.
1628 Captain Gerrit Frederikszoon de Wit, in the VOC ship Vianen sighted the west coast at latitude 21S and charted the coast for over 300 kms going north. He named the land "de Wit's Land".
1629 shipwreck The VOC ship Batavia under the command of Commander Francois Pelsaert was wrecked on Morning Reef in the Wallabi Group of the Abrolhos Islands just 60 km off the coast of Geraldton, Western Australia. Pelsaert sailed to Batavia in long boat to get a rescue ship. Meanwhile a devastating mutiny broke out resulting in the killing of many survivors. See Batavia Graveyard.
1629 Commander Pelsaert returned from Batavia in the VOC ship Sardam to rescue survivors of the wrecked Batavia. Pelsaert hangs many of the mutineers and maroons two on the mainland before returning to Batavia.
1631 The VOC ship Grooten Broeck sailed along the west coast from Cape Leeuwin to Dirk Hartog Island on the way to Batavia.
1635 The VOC ship Amsterdam, under the command of Woolebrand Geleynszoon de Jongh and skipper Pieter Dirckszoon, charted the west coast around the latitude of Shark Bay.
1636 Commander Pieter Pieterszoon with the VOC ships Klein Amsterdam and Wezel charted the northern coast of the Soutland naming the land "van Diemen's Land".
1642 Abel Janszoon Tasman, while searching for the great South Land with 2 ships, the Heemskerck and Zeehaen, discovered the west coast of "van Diemen's Land" (Tasmania) and sailed on to sight "Statenlandt" (New Zealand). He continued on and found the islands of Tonga and Fiji.
1644 Abel Janszoon Tasman commanded a second expedition with 3 ships, the Zeemeeuw, Limmen and Bracq and explored and charted the northern and western coast from Cape York to Point Cloates in the west. He called the western part of the new continent "New Holland".

VOC cartographers were now able to map most of Australia's coastline except the east coast which still remained a mystery until it was discovered by Captain Cook 126 years later in 1770.
1648 Jan Janszoon Zeeuw in the VOC ship Leeuwerik charted the west coast, weather conditions permitting, on his way north to Batavia.
1656 shipwreckThe VOC ship Vergulde Draeck (also known as Gilt Dragon) under the command of Pieter Albertszoon ran onto a reef 5 kms off the coast of Western Australia south west of where the town of Ledge Point is now and was wrecked. The site is about 100 kms north of the present site of Perth. The ship's boat with 7 men sailed to Batavia to get help. Read about the wrecking and rescue attempts.
1656 Two rescue ships, the Goede Hoop and Witte Valk were dispatched from Batavia to search for survivors.The Witte Valk could not approach land due to furious storms and rough seas. The Goede Hoop was more persistent and managed to land search parties at the appropriate latitude but found no survivors and lost 11 men in the process.
1657 The flute Vink sailed from the Cape to Batavia with orders to call at New Holland and search for survivors. Once again there was no success, primarily due to bad weather and rough seas.
1658 Two more ships, Waeckende Boei and Emeloort, under the command of Samuel Volkerson and Aucke Pieterszoon Jonck respectively, were sent to search for survivors of the Vergulde Draeck. They sailed up and down the coast and made several landings finding wreckage but no survivors. Volkerson left a search party of 14 men marooned on the mainland.
1658 Captain Jacob Pieterszoon Peereboom explored the region north of Cape Leeuwin in his ship Elburgh. He was the first European to visit the present site of the city of Bunbury. It was was in early June 1658. A landing party found some Aborigines who fled on their arrival.
1678 Captain Jan van der Wall explored and charted the northwest coast of New Holland in his VOC ship Vliegende Swaan from present-day Dampier to the Exmouth Gulf.
1694 shipwreck The VOC ship Ridderschap van Holland, not heard of again since departing the Cape of Good Hope, was most likely shipwrecked on the west coast, probably on the Abrolhos Islands.
1696 An expedition of 3 ships, the Geelvink, Nijptangh and Weseltje, under the command of Commander Willem de Vlamingh and Captains Gerrit Collaert and Cornelis de Vlamingh was dispatched to look for the Ridderschap van Holland and explore New Holland. Explored Rottnest Island, the mainland around the Swan River (present site of Perth) and several points along the coast going north. Landed on Dirk Hartog Island, where de Vlamingh retrieved Hartogh's pewter plate and left his own behind, before heading for Batavia.
1705 Three ships, de Vossenbosch, Waaier and Nova Hollandia, under the command of Commander Maarten van Delft explored the Gulf of Carpentaria and the northern coast of New Holland.
1712 shipwreck The VOC ship Zuytdorp, Captained by Marinus Wijsvliet, wrecked on the mainland coast of New Holland just south of Shark Bay, on rocks at the bottom of cliffs now named after the ship.
1725 shipwreck The Aagtekerke left Rammekens (in Zeeland, Holland) on 27 May 1725, arrived at Cape Town on 3 January 1726, and left on 29 January for Batavia. Nothing was ever heard of it again. However recently (2012) shipwreck hunters believe they have found the wreck of the Aagtekerke off Half Moon Reef in the Abrolhos Islands off Geraldton.
1727 shipwreck The Zeewijck, with Captain Jan Steyns, was wrecked off the west coast of New Holland on the Abrolhos Islands. The survivors managed to built a boat from the wreckage, called it Sloepie and sailed it to Batavia.
1756 The ships Rijder, with Captain Jean Gonzal, and Buis, with Captain Lavienne Lodewijk van Asschens, further explored the Gulf of Carpentaria making landfall a number of times.

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