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Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

27 October 2006

Dutch royal couple sail the Duyfken in Sydney


Sydney Harbour will today host the Crown Prince and Princess of the Netherlands on a special cruise to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Dutch in Australia.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, today extended a warm welcome to H.R.H. Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, and his wife H.R.H. Princess Máxima.

The Crown Prince and Princess will join Mr Hunt and Dutch Ambassador Niek Van Zutphen for a short sail across Sydney Harbour aboard the Duyfken.

The 'little dove' is a hand built replica of the original Dutch yacht which was the first European ship to chart the great 'Unknown Southern Land', landing at Cape York in 1606.

"The Australian visit by the Dutch royal couple is a highlight of this anniversary year," Mr Hunt said.

"Their participation in the replica Duyfken's voyage celebrates the important part the vessel played in the history of cordial relations between the Netherlands and Australia.

"In 1606, Dutch Captain Willem Janszoon and his crew sailed in the Duyfken from the Indonesian island of Banda in search of gold and trade opportunities on the fabled island of Nova Guinea.

"They may not have found gold, but they did find the northern coast of Australia-and so began a relationship that has endured for centuries.

"Our countries' ties are strong, with more than a quarter of a million people in Australia being of Dutch ancestry.

"I very much look forward to discussing with Prince Willem areas of mutual interest, including water conservation and marathon running," Mr Hunt added.

The Australian Government has provided major sponsorship of $495,000 for the Duyfken's journey, which is the centrepiece of the Government's 2006 focus on coastal and maritime heritage. The voyage is a partnership between the Australian Government, the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation, and the volunteer group Australia On The Map 1606 - 2006.

Further information is available at www.duyfken.com

Media contacts:
John Deller (Greg Hunt's office) on 0400 496 596

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