Historic cape on Dirk Hartog Island
It was the Dutch sailor Henderik Brouwer who, in 1610, discovered that the best route from the Cape of Good Hope to Batavia was via the Roaring Forties. The idea was head east for a few thousand kilometres then turn left. Brouwer achieved the crossing of the Indian Ocean and turned left before reaching Western Australia. Six years later Dirk Hartog sailed too far and landed at Cape Inscription on 26 October 1616. It was here that Hartog left his famous pewter plate inscribed (in Dutch, this is obviously a translation): '1616. On 25th October there arrived here the ship Eendraght of Amsterdam. Supercargo Gilles Miebais of Liege; skipper Dirck Hatichs of Amsterdam. On 27th do. she set sail again for Bantam. Subcargo Jan Stins; upper steersman Pieter Doores of Bil. In the year 1616.' It hardly makes gripping reading but it is firm evidence of the first Europeans landing on mainland Australia.
Western Australia's stunning wildflower country is one of our natural wonders, writes Bruce Elder.
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