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Duyfken

From Academic Kids

Duyfken ("little dove" in English) was a small Dutch ship that sailed from the Indonesian island of Banda in 1606 in search of gold and trade opportunities on Nova Guinea (now Papua New Guinea). In the course of that voyage, it encountered the Australian mainland and is thus credited as being that of the first European discovery of Australia.

The ship was built in 1595, probably in the North Sea Island of Texel for the Dutch East India Company

On its first voyage in 1601 to the Spice Islands under the command of Willem Schouten it discovered and named Cape Horn after the city of Hoorn. On arrival at Banten in western Java, it encountered a Portuguese blockade fleet of Portuguese ships totalling eight galleons and twenty-two galleys. The Moluccan fleet (consisting of five ships including the Duyfke) engage this fleet in intermittent battle until driving them away on New Years day. This is a turning point in history: the undisputed dominance of the Iberians (Portuguese and Spanish) in the Spice Trade to Europe is over. It returned to the Netherlands in 1603.

In 1603 she left on another voyage to the Spice Islands under the command of Willem Janszoon in which they explored and mapped areas around Papua New Guinea. In this voyage, the Australian mainland was encountered, somehere around the Gulf of Carpentaria.

In 1608 In the begining of the year she was engaged in a five hour battle with three Spanish galleys. In June the Duyfken was sent with larger ships to capture the fortress of Taffaso on Makian Island. A month later she was brought inside the reef at Ternate for repairs. It seems that she was hauled on her side to repair the bottom but this caused further damage and she was judged unrepairable.

A full size replica of the Duyfken was built by the "Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation" jointly with the Maritime Museum of Western Australia and launched on January 24 1999 in Fremantle. After goodwill tours to Sydney, Queensland, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa, and finally Texel in Netherlands.

The Duyfken is currently berthed alongside the Old Swan Brewery on the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia and can be visited by the public.

In 2006, Western Australia will play a big role in the 400th anniversary of the original Duyfkens visit to Australia and a national group has begun planning to commemorate the arrival of the Duyfken and to mark this important milestone in Australia's history by also giving recognition to all who followed her and contributed to the mapping of the Australian coast.

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