If you had an Australian school life you no doubt will have learned of Dutch sailor and explorer Captain Willem Janszoon who, long before Captain Cook's arrival - in 1606 - charted the western coastline of Cape York Peninsula. If you're anywhere within reach of Sydney your time is running out to walk on board the beautiful replica of his ship, the Duyfken (Little Dove).
Duyfken - last days
When you climb aboard Duyfken at the Australian National Maritime Museum you really do go back in time as you walk the decks, smell tarred hemp and oiled oak and admire the beautiful hand carved decorations. Below deck you can explore the hold where the precious cargo of spices was carried, enter the Captain’s cabin complete with a replica of his journal and arms collection and see the sailors’ mess where they ate and slept.
The original Duyfken landed on Cape York Peninsula (Qld) on a visit from the Spice Islands – today’s Indonesia, and his very early foray along the unknown coastline of Australia will remain in history as one of Australia's first contacts with the Western world.
The Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation formed in 1995 to plan and build the ship in Fremantle, WA. No plans existed for ships of this period so the Australian team produced their own plans based on extensive research.
Duyfken, which has been a special guest of the museum while HMB Endeavour is sailing around Australia, must close to the public on 19 March. After leaving the museum the ship will head to Brisbane for a refit before continuing on to Fremantle, WA.
The Australian National Maritime Museum, at Darling Harbour, is open daily from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm. Entry to Duyfken is included in the museum’s Big Ticket which is $25 for adults, $10 for children or $60 for a family. All inquiries phone (02) 9298 3777 or visit www.anmm.gov.au.