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Willem JANSZOON (Jansz) note
(c.1570-after1629)


See The First Discovery of Australia with an account of the Voyage of the Duyfken and the Career of Captain Willem Jansz. by T D Mutch. (This article first appeared in the Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXVIII, pp. 303-52)

[Note: The entry in the Dictionary of Australian Biography, referred to above, is deficient in a number of areas. It does not refer to the correct surname, 'Janszoon', and it refers to an article by T Mutch (see paragraph above) as 'the only source for information about Jansz in English.' Refer to The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765, by J. E. Heeres, 1899, for more information about Willem Janszoon's voyage.]


"The first Dutch vessel known to have visited part of the Australian coast was the Duyfken (i.e. the Little Dove), despatched to examine the coasts and islands of New Guinea. This yacht, which was commanded by Willem Janszoon, was actually in Torres Strait in March 1606, a few weeks before Torres sailed through it. But provisions ran short, and nine of the crew were murdered by natives, who were found to be 'wild, cruel, black savages'; so that the Duyfken did not penetrate beyond Cape Keer-weer (i.e. Cape Turn-again), on the west side of the Cape York Peninsula. Her captain returned in the belief that the south coast of New Guinea was joined to the land along which he coasted, and Dutch maps reproduced this error for many years to come." [Refer to the Australian Discovery page for details of the point of probable landfall of the Duyfken on Australian soil, during Janszoon's voyage.]

See Extracts from 'A Short History of Australia' by Sir Ernest Scott.


Updated 17 May 2006