Thursday, 27 October 2016

400 year journey to Dirk Hartog Island

Western Australia's remote Dirk Hartog Island has a rich Australian and Dutch history dating back 400 years, with the indigenous locals having been on the land for more than 40,000 years.

On October 25, 1616, Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog and his crew landed at Cape Inscription during his voyage on the Eendracht for the mighty Dutch East India Company. His ship ran too far east and arrived on Dirk Hartog Island while transporting gold pieces to trade for spice in Jakarta. These were the first recorded European steps on WA soil, with a pewter plate being laid to rest as a mark.

Dirk Hartog Island is part of the World Heritage listed Shark Bay area, made famous by bottlenose dolphins who regularly visit the shores of Monkey Mia to interact with humans. This region of the Coral Coast is where the rust red landscape collides with the turquoise blue Indian Ocean, coral reefs and an abundance of marine wildlife.

The island is an ark for endangered wildlife and a unique place for visitors to enjoy an island adventure. It's the most western point of Australia and a melting pot of Australian history.

Sebastian Hartog is a first generation Australian born of Dutch parents, who started to trace his family history a few years back. His father was born in Curacao in the Dutch Antilles and mother in The Hague, the Netherlands. It was in 2008 that Sebastian hatched the plan to re-trace Dirk Hartog's voyage that landed him on the shores of WA in 1616.

“I've been making plans to trace our family history to this unique part of the world for a while now, so I am stoked to be journeying to the island and celebrating where Dirk Hartog landed” Sebastian said.

This month commemorates 400 years since Dirk Hartog landed in WA. To celebrate the anniversary, the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616 festival will be held from October 21 to 25, and will host a five-day program of arts, music, food and historical events.

This anniversary has spurred Sebastian to make homage to his heritage and embark on a journey to seek out his ancestors steps. He, along with many others, will explore and celebrate one of the more mysterious and spectacular regions of the Australian coastline.

For further details about the event visit

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