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The Great Southland

In October 1616 an event took place on the West Coast, 154 years before James Cook touched upon the East Coast of The Great Southland. Yet, in terms of Australian history it has received little or no attention.  Ten years earlier, in 1606, Willem Janszoon in the Duyfken had already landed at Cape York Peninsula.

It was the age of discovery and exploration of the Souther Hemisphere, with the aim of finding the long suspected presence of the mysterious South Land.  

The Dutch were traders and heavily engaged in shipping spices and other exotic wares to Europe from the Spice Islands at that time.  As there was no apparent trade with the Aboriginal population the land lay dormant and no efforts were made to claim it, other than leaving an inscribed pewter plate on Dirk Hartog Island.

Dirk Hartog Plate
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