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

18 March 2006

Volunteers gear up to get vessel 'shipshape'

An enthusiastic group of volunteers in Fremantle, WA, will be taking up their tar brushes and getting down to business today (Saturday 18 March) to help make the replica vessel Duyfken shipshape for her epic journey next month, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.

Departing Fremantle on 6 April, Duyfken will sail 12,000 kilometres, visiting 25 ports, to mark the 400th anniversary of European contact with Australia.

The Australian Government is the major sponsor of the voyage, contributing $495,000.

"The working bee provides a unique opportunity for both landlubbers and lovers of all things nautical to make a hands-on contribution to our history," Senator Campbell said.

"This voyage will reinforce Australia's history in the raw - the as-it-was, chronological European discovery and mapping of the Great Unknown Southern Land, not a black armband, air-brushed version.

"The replica tall ship Duyfken is a majestic reminder of our centuries-old relationship with the sea. She is a very important, if little known, part of our rich maritime heritage. I am delighted to be joining the volunteers to lend a hand in her preparation," he said.

In 1606, the original Duyfken or 'Little Dove' was commissioned by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) to discover "the great land of Nova Guinea and other unknown east and south lands". Skippered by Willem Janszoon and with a crew of 20, she headed south-east from the Indonesian Banda Islands, past the coast of what we now know as New Guinea on an unintended course that took her to the northern coast of Australia.

Janszoon charted 300 kilometres of the coastline. The captain and crew became the first Europeans in authenticated history to set foot on Australian soil when they made landfall at the Pennefather River.

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia