In 1606 the small jacht Duyfken, owned by the Dutch East India
Company and stationed in the East Indies, made a voyage of exploration
looking for "east and south lands" which took it to Australia's Cape
York Peninsula. That voyage is the first historically recorded voyage
As part of bringing Australian history to life, the Duyfken
replica was built at the Lotteries Duyfken Village Shipyard in
front of the Maritime Museum in Fremantle. The keel was laid by the
Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange on 12th January 1997.
construction process was very different from that used to build the
Endeavour replica which was also constructed in Fremantle although both
start with keel, stem and sternpost. The lower hull of Duyfken
was built plank-first as the original ship would have been in
the late 16th century. Planks were pre-bent to shape over an open fire.
Our shipwrights learned this archaic technique, bending the 60mm thick
planks which form the lower planking. At first it seemed very difficult;
probably too many levers, pulleys, fulcrums and weights were used. The
shipwrights eventually just let the planks droop slowly under their
own weight over a slow fire. In a good week the team under Bill Leonard
would fit a full port and starboard strake of planks.
planks are northern European oak (Quercus robur) imported from Latvia.
The timber was still fairly green but the drying effect of the heat
bending process was significant. Planks that felt distinctly wet before
bending work more like matured timber a couple of hours later.
Duyfken was built as a process of "experimental
archaeology" - at the end of the processthe Foundation understood
a great deal more about the advantages and the disadvantages of plank-first
construction as practiced by the Dutch, who were the most successful
shipbuilders and sailors in Europe.