de Witt 1628

Dutch map of Western Australia evolves

Just 18 years after the Brouwer route was established, mariners of the Dutch East India Company had mapped much of Western Australia’s coastline. This map produced with incredible accuracy in 1628, collated all the company’s cartographic knowledge of the coast at the time. The Dutch considered the west coast a maritime hazard and mapped it to ensure a safe passage for their ships heading north to Indonesia.

1. 1622: An English ship, the Trial, became Australia’s first recorded shipwreck when in hit a reef in the Montebello Islands. The captain and 45 crew sailed two longboats to Batavia, leaving 93 crew to perish.
2. 1628: Gerrit Frederikszoon de Witt sighted the coast to the east of the Montebello Islands, including Barrow Island and coastal reefs to the south.
3. 1622: Willem Janszoon (originally captain of the Duyfken) was chief merchant of Mauritius when he named the Willems River (possibly the current Ashburton River) after himself.
4. 1616: Dirk Hartog charted 417km from the Shark Bay region to North West Cape.
5. 1619: Captain Frederik de Houtman and Jacob d'Edel discovered the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.
6. 1624: Officers of the Tortelduyf discovered and named Tortelduyf Island, part of the Houtman Abrolhos.
7. 1619: Captain Frederik de Houtman and Jacob d'Edel sighted land south of the mouth of the Swan River.
8. 1622: About 180km of Western Australia's south west coast – between Hamelin Bay and Point D'Entrecasteaux – was mapped by the Dutch ship Leeuwin.
9. 1627: François Thijssen arrived near Cape Leeuwin and sailed eastwards, mapping more than 1,500km of coastline from Albany, Western Australia, to Ceduna, South Australia. He named the area Nuyt's Land. He also discovered two islands, naming them  St Francis and St Pieter.