The Duyfken replica vessel docks at the Australian National Maritime Museum

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.

The Duyfken at its new home in Sydney Harbour

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 Duyfken leaving Banda Island in Eastern Indonesia before its re-enactment voyage to the Cape York Peninsula in Australia. (Robert Garvey)

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.

The Duyfken rounding the Cape of Good Hope

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. 

Duyfken at Zaanse Schans in Holland

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.

About ianburnet

Author of the book, Spice Islands. Which tells the History, Romance and Adventure of the spice trade from the Moluccas in Eastern Indonesia over a period of 2000 years. Author of the book, East Indies.Which tells the history of the struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for supremacy in the Eastern Seas. Author of the book 'Archipelago - A Journey Across Indonesia'. Author of the book 'Where Australia Collides with Asia' Author of the book 'The Tasman Map'. Author of the book 'Eastern Voyages'.
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4 Responses to The Duyfken replica vessel docks at the Australian National Maritime Museum

  1. Denis O'Hara says:

    Thanks Ian. Duyfken is a tangible living link with our history and the Spice Islands. The sight of Duyfken under sail off Gunung Api is a treasure.

  2. ianburnet says:

    Yes. And many thanks to Robert Garvey for providing that magnificent photograph!

  3. Dick Bergsma says:

    Thanks for your great input Ian, appreciated as allways!

    I hope all is well on your side, given Covid and all.
    Are you enlisted again this year for another one of your historical cruises? I’d love to join!
    Best wishes
    Dick Bergsma

    • ianburnet says:

      Thanks Dick. There are no plans for any Indonesian voyages for 2021. But I will be doing an Australian voyage from Cairns to Darwin with Coral Expeditions at the end of 2021. We will visit Endeavour Reef and Endeavour River, William Bligh’s Restoration Island, James Cook’s Possession Island, the Torres Strait islands, Willem Janszoon’s Rivier met busch, Arnhem Land and then Darwin.

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