When West Australian author, Graeme Cocks, wrote the story of the Duyfken replica sailing ship and the first recorded European visit to Australia in 1606, he did not expect that the book would take him to one of the world's great maritime museums.
Tomorrow, however, (9 November 2023), his book "Through Darkest Seas" will be launched at the Scheepvaartmuseum in the heart of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in front of a sellout audience.
The museum holds the second largest maritime historical collections in the world.
Graeme Cocks said that the enthusiasm in The Netherlands for his new book has been heartwarming. "I was Project Director of the Duyfken Foundation in 2002 when we sailed Duyfken from Sydney to Amsterdam on the longest reenactment voyage in an Age fo Discovery ship."
"We were welcomed to The Netherlands by Crown Prince Willem Alexander, who is now King Willem Alexander, and tens of thousands of people. My book is about the extraordinary events which led to the voyage from Australia and the history of the original Duyfken."
"It is uncanny that I am launching the book near the wharf where the captain of the original Duyfken, Willem Jansz, would walk in his old age, muttering 'I say, I say' - much to the amusement of sailors from all over the world."
The first Duyfken (Little Dove) was sailed from The Netherlands to Indonesia and then to Australia. Willem Jansz, charted the waters in and around Cape York Peninsula in 1606. That voyage resulted in the Australian land mass being represented on a world map for the first time. The 1606 voyage also marked the first time in recorded European history that Aboriginal people met people from the outside world.
In 1993, an idea sparked the imagination of a group of people in Fremantle, Western Australia. That idea was to build a replica of Duyfken and the vision grew to create a seaworthy replica which could sail the world’s great oceans like her namesake. The Duyfken Replica was constructed in Fremantle over four years. A true community project, West Australians from all walks of life contributed to raising funds to build the ship. Governments and the corporate world made major contributions. Over four years, West Australian shipwrights carved her, piece-by-piece, out of European Oak and local timber. The reborn Duyfken was launched in 1999. It is now regarded as the most exacting replica of a 16th century ‘Age of Discovery’ sailing ship.
"Through Darkest Seas" is available in bookshops and online. More information is at www.duyfkenbook.com.
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