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A Farewell to Duyfken Day

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by Peter Hancock (subscribe)
Journalist, historian and naturalist living in Perth's eastern suburbs.
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Replica sailing ship bound for Sydney
The replica sailing ship Duyfken is due to set sail in mid-November for its new home at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney where it will take up residence as a new maritime exhibition.

But before "The Little Dove" says farewell West Australians will have one last chance to say goodbye.

Duyfken, Little Dove, sailing ship, Dirk Hartog, Michael Kailis, Captain James Cook, Willem Janszoon, tall ships
The Duyfken under sail.


On Sunday, October 18, a Farewell to Duyfken Open Day will allow up to 350 people the chance to take a final tour of Duyfken, joining the many hundreds of thousands of visitors who have walked its deck since it was completed in 1999.

The ship will be located behind Little Creatures Brewing at 40 Mews Road in Fremantle.

Pre-purchased tickets will cost $5 and to allow for COVID restrictions numbers will be limited to 24 visitors each half-hour session which will run through the day from 9.30am to 4pm.

Duyfken, Little Dove, sailing ship, Dirk Hartog, Michael Kailis, Captain James Cook, Willem Janszoon, tall ships
A canon aboard the Duyfken.


Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/farewell-to-duyfken-tickets-123131665125?aff=ebdssbeac

Then on Saturday, October 24, the Duyfken will be moved to the Sardine Wharf on Mews Road in Fremantle for a Community Open Day.

While there won't be access to the ship on this day the Duyfken will be on exhibition from 9.30am to 4pm for people to view the ship and take photos.

Built in Fremantle, the Duyfken is a replica of a ship that travelled from Holland to the Spice Islands of Indonesia more than 400 years ago.

Duyfken, Little Dove, sailing ship, Dirk Hartog, Michael Kailis, Captain James Cook, Willem Janszoon, tall ships
Aboard the Duyfken.


In the year 1606, whilst on a discovery voyage, the crew of Duyfken made landfall on the Cape York Peninsula, entering the history books as the first Europeans to set foot on Australian soil.

At the time of its construction, the ship cost $3.7 million to build and since then has tackled voyages around the world, including returning to the original Duyfken's home port in Holland in 2002.

In 2016 to commemorate Dirk Hartog's landing near Shark Bay, 400 years previously, Duyfken spent three month's sailing to ports along WA's coast.

Duyfken, Little Dove, sailing ship, Dirk Hartog, Michael Kailis, Captain James Cook, Willem Janszoon, tall ships
A compass on display.


The efforts to build the Duyfken were led by Fremantle community leader, the late Michael G Kailis who sadly died in June 1999, just before the ship was launched.

Plans to build the ship started in 1993 when a group of like-minded people led by historian Michael Young formed the organisation which became the charitable Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation.

The group was keen to educate Australians that the first Europeans to make contact with the Australian continent were the Dutch mariners aboard the original Duyfken, rather than the story that identifies Captain James Cook with the 'discovery' of the land we now call Australia.

The first recorded chart of the Australian coastline was made by Duyfken's Dutch skipper, Captain Willem Janszoon.

Duyfken, Little Dove, sailing ship, Dirk Hartog, Michael Kailis, Captain James Cook, Willem Janszoon, tall ships
The Duyfken at sea.


He also made the first recorded contact between Aboriginal Australians and Europeans during Duyfken's 1606 voyage, marking the start of Australia's recorded European history.

With a hull built from Latvian European Oak and sails and rig of natural flax and hemp, the Duyfken replica has been praised by Dutch historians as the most accurate "Age of Discovery" replica sailing ship.

The ship's hull was launched on January 24, 1999, and the vessel set sail for the first time on July 10, 1999.

Duyfken, Little Dove, sailing ship, Dirk Hartog, Michael Kailis, Captain James Cook, Willem Janszoon, tall ships
Some of the treasures on display aboard the Duyfken.


Thousands of people were involved with the construction of the Duyfken, including a team of volunteer shipwrights led by Australia's most acclaimed master shipwright Bill Leonard.

The project was funded by the Governments of the Netherlands, Western Australia, Queensland, and Australia, the Lotteries Commission of WA, private donors, the MG Kailis Group of Companies and many other companies and community members.

Once the 24 metre, 140-tonne ship had been built it took a year to find a crew with the skills and stamina to cope with the primitive conditions aboard a 400-year old Dutch tall ship design.

Peter Manthorpe, one of Australia's most experienced tall ship masters was appointed Ship's Master and was joined by First Mate Gary Wilson who later became Master of the vessel.
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Why? One last chance to experience what life was like aboard a Dutch sailing ship some 400 years ago.
When: Sunday, October 18 from 9.30am to 4pm for ship tours and from 9.30am to 4pm for viewing on Saturday, October 24.
Where: Behind Little Creatures Brewing at 40 Mews Road in Fremantle, Western Australia on October 18 and at Sardine Wharf on Mews Road in Fremantle on October 24.
Cost: $5 for Farewell to Duyfken Open Day and free for the Community Open Day.
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