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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

1 September 2005

Federal funds give Little Dove wings


The much-loved "Little Dove", the Western Australian-built replica of the 17th century Dutch ship the Duyfken, has been given wings to take to the high seas with the help of the Australian Government and BHP Billiton.

Announced today by Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell, the voyage around Australia will take place next year and include a re-enactment of the Duyfken's original journey, the first recorded instance of European contact with our nation's coastline.

The Australian Government has provided $250,000 towards the venture. BHP Billiton is contributing $100,000.

Senator Campbell said the voyage was the flagship event in the Australia on the Map: 16062006 project commemorating four hundred years of maritime exploration around Australia's coastline.

"Australia on the Map is being undertaken with support from a range of organisations, including BHP Billiton, and will include a series of commemorative events to tell the story of how the continent that was once referred to as 'The Unknown Southern Land' came to be known around the world as Australia," he said.

"Ten years before fellow Dutchman Dirk Hartog landed in Western Australia in 1616, Captain Willem Janszoon landed the Duyfken at the Pennefather River, Cape York Peninsula, before going on to chart 300 kilometres along the Gulf of Carpentaria.

"His charting effort was followed and expanded over the centuries by many explorers, including Abel Tasman, James Cook and Matthew Flinders, all of whom played an important role in revealing the secrets of Australia's coast and helping to define the nation we know today.

"The circumnavigation by the Duyfken replica is a celebration of those early maritime explorers and their achievements as well as a celebration of Australia's coastal heritage."

BHP Billiton's President Operations, Australia and Asia, Nigel Smith, said the company was pleased to be involved in the project.

"BHP Billiton is proud to be sponsoring such an important milestone in Australia's maritime history. Exploration is fundamental to our company's success and this project provides a wonderful opportunity to recognise and celebrate this exceptional journey of exploration," he said.

The Duyfken replica will stop in coastal ports around the country over a period of about 135 days, including more than 95 days at sea.

The ship was built and fitted out in Fremantle and features a hull made of Latvian European Oak, with sails and rig made of natural flax and hemp. Its voyage in 2006 presents a unique opportunity for Australians from all over the country to visit the ship and experience first hand conditions on board a seventeenth century vessel.

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia