1606: Cape York Peninsula

First map of Australian coastline

Willem Janszoon, captain of the Duyfken, became the first European to map Australia’s coastline when he chartered 300km of Cape York Peninsula in 1606.

1611: New trade route

European ships sail closer to WA

Some Dutch ships accidentally made contact with Australia’s west coast after veering off course from a new, quicker trade route to Indonesia that ran parallel to WA's coast.

1616: Shark Bay to North West Cape

Dirk Hartog's famous accident

Dirk Hartog and the crew of the 'Eendracht' became the first Europeans to accidentally sail too far east of the designated trade route and make contact with Western Australia.

1616 – 1628: West and south coasts

Dutch map of Western Australia evolves

Just 17 years after the new trade route was established, navigators of the Dutch East India Company had mapped much of Western Australia’s coastline.

1623: Gulf of Carpentaria

Dutch interest awakened in south land

As the map of Australia began to take shape, the Dutch East India Company commissioned voyages of exploration to learn more about commercial opportunities in the region.

1642-44: Tasmania and Northern Australia

The map of Australia takes shape

Abel Tasman undertook two voyages that chartered nearly 4000km of coastline - the most significant contribution to the map of Australia.