||Among the ships leaving Texel (The
Netherlands) for the East Indies in the spring of 1616 was the
Eendracht (Unity) sailing for the Chamber of Amsterdam of the Verenigde
Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), the United Dutch East India Company.
Dirk Hartog was its skipper and Gillis Miebais the upper-merchant.
Near the Cape of Good Hope the Eendracht became separated
from the rest of the fleet. For the sake of speed, Hartog embarked
on a new sailing route, sailing eastwards between latitudes 35° and
where the prevailing winds were strong and westerly. This southerly
route, pioneered by Hendrik Brouwer in 1610, had yet to be officially
introduced by the Company.
Above: Map showing
Eendrachtsland: Hessel Gerritz outline chart of 1627.
|Hartog maintained this course
until October when he saw ‘several islands, though uninhabited’,
behind which a vast mainland could be seen. He anchored
near one of these islands and examined them thoroughly
for two days. He found little of apparent value.
Before continuing his voyage to Bantam (Banten, Indonesia)
he erected a pole with an inscribed pewter plate attached
to commemorate their discovery.
The roads where he lay at anchor
for two days were called Dirk Hartog Roads and the island Dirk
The Eendracht then sailed northward along the unknown
coast, which was charted accurately until latitude 22° south.
Hartog called the new land after his ship; Eendrachtsland or
Land of Eendracht.
|Untitled fragment from Nova
et Accurata Totius Orbis Terrarum Geographica et Hydrographica
Hendrik Van Langren
This apparently unique
fragment from a world map is possibly the earliest printed
depiction indicative of early Dutch discoveries of
the west coast and Cape York Peninsula of Australia. On
the hypothetical landmass Terra Australis Incognito appear
the legendary names
Beach provincia aurifera (land of gold), Lucach
and Maletur (Kingdom of the Malays) all derived from Marco
When compared to the 1599 edition, it is
clear that Langren added the words t’landt
van Eendracht taking into account Dirk Hartog’s
discoveries on the Eendracht in 1616.
This linking of Hartog’s discoveries with Terra
Australis Incognita is a significant step towards
the eventual realization that Abel Tasman’s New Holland,
Nicolas Baudin’s Terres Australes and Matthew
Flinders’ Australia were one in the same.
On loan courtesy of the Jock Clough Collection.