People and Places
Australia ‘on the map’: Duyfken
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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The replica of the Duyfken of 1606. Length 25m, 6m beam.

The replica of the Duyfken of 1606. Length 25m, 6m beam.

In June 2006 a very unusual vessel visited Port Phillip. It was a replica of the ship Duyfken, built in the Netherlands c1600 for the Dutch United East India Company (VOC). The original Duyfken departed from Banda, in what is now Indonesia, to explore the area to the east and south and early in 1606 arrived at the west coast of Cape York Peninsula. The section of coastline mapped by Willem Janszoon, the captain of the Duyfken, was added to the existing maps, putting Australia ‘on the map’.

Duyfken was a small fast ship used for scouting ahead of a convoy for small valuable cargoes and carrying messages or emergency provisions. Because there are no historical records of the original, the vessel which sails today is similar to ships from the 17th century of the same type and size, though referred to as a replica. The vessel of today was built in Fremantle and launched on January 24, 1999, by the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation jointly with the Maritime Museum of Western Australia. It was designed by a team of experts on ships of the 16th and 17th century making use of evidence gathered from shipwreck archaeology, artistic renditions of ships of the period and from ship building contracts. The modern vessel was built by a team of shipwrights, using the same methods as in the original ship, of European oak imported from Latvia. Several of the team had earlier been involved in the building of the replica Bark Endeavour.

In 2000, Duyfken made a re-enactment voyage from Indonesia to Pennefather River on Cape York Peninsula where Janszoon landed. The voyage included the passage from Fremantle to Indonesia and the return from Cape York. She then made a passage lasting almost 12 months to attend the 400th anniversary of the VOC. Departing from Sydney on May 5, 2001, she sailed more than 18,000 nautical miles to arrive at Texel in the Netherlands on April 28, 2002. When she visited Port Phillip in 2006, she was on a 12,000km anticlockwise circumnavigation of Australia to mark the 400th anniversary of Janszoon’s visit in 1606.

Recently Duyfken has been taking paying guests for twilight sails on Sydney Harbour. Search for more information.


President, Peninsula Ship Societu

The Peninsula Ship Society meets at Hastings Yacht Club on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10am. Visitors are always welcome.

9787 5780

Hastings Yacht Club

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