On 16 November 1629, Commander Pelsaert recorded in his journal:

At this good opportunity, I have ordered the delinquents, to wit, Wouter Loos and Jan Pelgrom de Bye van Bemmel, with a champan provided with everything to sail to this land. God grant that it may stretch to the service of the Dutch East India Company and may God grant them a good outcome, in order to know for once, for certain, what happens in this land.Thus, Loos and van Bemmel became the first European settlers in Western Australia.


On the part of Pelsaert it was no thoughtless marooning for he had given the men supplies and instructions to be able to survive for a time and be able to establish themselves and find out more about the land.

The two men landed near Hutt River, (above Geraldton) and likely set up camp close to the shore.

Maybe they had hopes that another ship might rescue them, although their arrival in Batavia, where most ships were headed, might have led to the hangman’s noose, as had been orginally intended. If that occurred to them, they would have given it a miss altogether.

They had a number of things in their favour. On the coast there is an abundance of fish and they would have had the gear to catch them. It is almost certain that they were given yams , with their other rations and instructions on how to plant them to derive a crop at a later date, thus establishing an ongoing food supply.

The aboriginals were not known to be hostile to white men and it has been said that they regarded white men as reincarnations of their forebears there is some evidence that these two made and that their genes mixed with those of the natives.

The question is; if these two and the other that followed them in the 17th century, been English sailors.

Would the history books read differently then?  Quite likely!

London: Hakluyt Society, p.lxxx.1859.


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