The Australian National Maritime Museum has announced that following negotiations with the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation in Western Australia, the museum will take over the ownership and management of the replica Duyfken.
‘We are pleased and honoured that the Duyfken Foundation approached us to take over the custodianship of this wonderful Fremantle built vessel, and we are thankful that we are able to provide a safe home for it,’ said Kevin Sumption, Director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
The Duyfken replica ship was built by the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation, jointly with the Maritime Museum of Western Australia, and launched on 24 January 1999 in Fremantle. Construction of the vessel was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kailis family. Chief executive Peter Bowman said while it was emotional for the Duyfken Foundation to see it go, the transfer was the best option to preserve the ship and continue public access.
After its launching in Fremantle, the Duyfken replica sailed to the Banda Islands in Eastern Indonesia in June 2000 to re-enact the original voyage of exploration made in 1606 by Willem Janszoon and the Duyfken towards New Guinea and Australia.
Unlike the voyage of 1606, the replica’s captain, Peter Manthorpe, and his crew came ashore on Cape York with the permission of the Aboriginal people. This time, message sticks and handshakes were exchanged – not musket balls and spears.
Local communities were invited to participate in the arrival in any way they saw fit. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie joined the traditional owners of the Pennefather River mouth, Aboriginal singers, dancers and more than 200 people from local communities came to welcome the vessel.
The next voyage was in 2002 and would take almost a year and cover 15,000 kilometres across the Indian Ocean and up the eastern board of the Atlantic Ocean to Holland, where the Duyfken story began almost 400 years previously.
The journey was instigated by an invitation from The Netherlands to be a major participant in celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Dutch East India Company, otherwise known as the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie).
The replica’s journey was to retrace the return voyages of VOC fleets in the 17th century to the Netherlands, picking up the same trade winds the Dutch knew so well and braving the same challenges of the stormy southern cape of Africa, equatorial doldrums and the stormy north Atlantic.
Spring gales made the last week of the voyage the toughest for the replica’s crew before she was welcomed ‘home’ to Texel, the Netherlands, on April 28, 2002.
Crown Prince Willem Alexander joined an estimated 40,000 people to welcome the replica to the place where the original Duyfken was built. The little ship had made its the long journey, visiting 10 countries across four continents.
During the spring and summer of 2002, the Duyfken replica visited many of the original VOC ports in the Netherlands and took part in a host of maritime events. By the end of the stay, over 300,000 people had come aboard the ship.
The Duyfken voyage undertaken in 2006, marked the 400th anniversary of the first documented European contact with Australia.
It was a partnership between the Australian Government, the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation and the history and heritage division of the Australasian Hydrographic Society, called ‘Australia on the Map: 1606-2006’.
To help commemorate this defining period in our history, the Duyfken replica visited 25 ports around Australia to highlight the importance of the country’s rich coastal and maritime heritage.
This included Indigenous sites, Macassan (early Indonesian) sites, early European settlements as well as modern structures, such as wharves and jetties, lighthouses, coastal defence installations and shipwrecks.
Thousands of visitors to the ship were given a deep appreciation of Australia’s earliest European history as well as the courage and skills of 17th century seafaring explorers.
There is a lot more about Willem Janszoon and the 1606 voyage of the Duyfken in Ian Burnet’s book The Tasman Map. Just go to the website below for more details.