They set sail from Holland, shipwrecks and discoveries

A web page dedicated to the Dutch who sailed and explored the shores of Australia. Some of these ships wrecked on the shores of Western Australia but many others sailed on to the East Indies or explored other unknown territories such as New Zealand and Tasmania.


Batavia 1629
Duyfken 1606
Vergulde Draeck 1656
Zeewyck 1729
Zuytdorp 1727

Captains Willem Jansz
Dirck Hartog
Abel Janszoon Tasman
Willem de Vlamingh
Related topics Cartography
Links to replicas and other related material.

Vergulde Draeck

In April 1656, the Vergulde Draek ran aground north of Yanchep, near Ledge Point. Sailing from Cape fo Good Hope, most VOC ships would set course East (using the trade winds) until sighting the coast of Western Australia, prior to turning north towards Batavia. The wreckage was discovered in April 1963, by spear fishermen.

Vergulde Draeck - Links to other sites:

  • Vergulde Draeck:Gilt Dragon (1653-1656) - WA Maritime Museum

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The Zeewyck (de Zeewijck)

The Zeewyck wrecked near the Houtman Abrolhos in 1727. I'm hoping to include a bit more information on this vessel later on. Some of the relics found are on display at the Geraldton Museum.

The Zuytdorp (de Zuijtdorp)

The Zuytdorp was one of many VOC ships bound for Batavia. However it ran aground in April 1712. This ship wrecked on the Houtman Abrolhos in 1712. A model of the "Zuytdorp" can be viewed at the Shark Bay Shell and Craft Museum.

The Zuytdorp - Links to other sites:

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Jansz, Willem

Captain Willem Jansz and supercargo Jan Lodewycksz van Roosengin, must have been the first Europeans to chart Australia. Sailing the Duyfken, Jansz sighted part of the northern coastline of Australia in 1606, which at the time he thought was the part of mainland New Guinea. The original journals and charts made during this voyage have been lost.

The National Library of Austria in Vienna owns a copy of the map, made around 1670. Apart from the route Jansz took, it also show the location of the first landfall in Australia by the Duyfken. The map is part of the "Atlas Blaeu- Van der Hem", an atlas consisting of 50 books and has more than 2000 coloured copper engravings and hand drawings. The atlas was brought to Vienna in 1730 by Prince Eugen v. Savoyen.

Willem Jansz - Links to other sites:

  • Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek Wien, cartographic collection (German)
    This image archive will be closed till the end of 2001. An English language version might be available in the future. - THIS LINK CURRENTLY ONLY REFERENCES THE OPENING PAGE.
  • Willem Jansz - Biography (discovery

Something to look for in your library:

  • Smith, Joan I. Willem Jansz, Rio Bay Enterprises Pty.Ltd. (Publishing) , 122 Dalkeith Road, Nedlands 6009, Western Australia. E-mail:

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Hartog, Dirck

In January 1616, the Eendracht sailed for Java. The Dutch East Indies company had set out a new sailing route to the east. Hartog followed that new route, but waited too long in turning north to Java, because of his error he chanced upon the west coast of Australia.
On Hartog Island he attached a pewter plate to a pole to commemorate his landing on the island. That plate was removed 81 years later by Willem de Vlamingh, who took it to Batavia, and replaced it with a new plate. Commemorating both his and Hartog's landing on the island.

Dirk Hartogh - Links to other sites:

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Abel Tasman, detail taken from a 17th century portrait by J.G. Cuyp.

Tasman, Abel Janszoon (1603-1659)

No, he didn`t name Tasmania after himself when he first sighted it in 1642. He named it after Anthony van Diemen, the Governor General of the East Indies Company, who made him sail the seas in order to discover the remaining part of the Unknown Southland.

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de Vlamingh, Willem: TRICENTENNIAL (January 1997)

Willem de Vlamingh was the last of the great Dutch seventeenth century explorers and sailed along the west coast of Australia in search of the Ridderschap van Holland. His 1696-97 voyage has been well recorded: a series of paintings (now in the caring hands of the Rotterdam Maritime Museum in Holland) portraiting the coast of the southland has been preserved, as well as the second pewter plate. (Western Australian Maritime Museum - Fremantle)
[The first plate: Dirk Hartog`s original - proof of his landing on Hartog Island in 1616 - is on permanent display in the Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum]
To commemorate the tricentenary of the voyage of discovery along the Western Australian coast by the Dutch navigator, Willem de Vlamingh, tricentennial celebrations were held between December 1996 and February 1997.

Re-enactments of the Vlamingh's landing were performed on Rottnest Island and the Swan River and a special monument was unveiled on the shores of the Swan River by His Royal Highness Prince Willem Alexander on 12 January 1997.

Willem de Vlamingh - Links to other sites:

Something to look for in your library:

  • Playford, Phillip E., Voyage of Discovery to Terra Australis by Willem de Vlamingh in 1696-97 (Perth: Western Australian Museum, 1998), 113 pp.

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old mapThe following site is for very patient people, with a long web access time (especially if you want to go from the miniature to the larger sized view). You do get a reward for all the waiting and waiting and waiting... Check it out: and find some 16th, 17th and 18th century maps . all gathered on this site by the University of Amsterdam. (Dutch)

The maps to look for are:

  • Claudius Ptolemaeus, Liber VIII, Rome 1490
  • Typus Orbis Terrarum, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum,
  • Ortelius 1570. Aegidius van Diest, Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Petrus Plancius, published by Laurens Jacobs 1590 Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - Abraham Ortelius.
  • Published in Antwerp by J.B. Vrients 1603.
  • Map of the world, 1665, published by Frederik de Wit , Amsterdam.

Other cartography

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Other related links

Other Replicas

  • Mary Rose - 16th century warship warship (Henry VIII) - Porthmouth - England
  • Zeven Provincien (Seven Provinces) - building in progress - Batavia Yard, the Netherlands

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