The vast Western Australian coastline was visited by hundreds of ships pre-colonisation, particularly Dutch trade ships. Many of these ships, such as the Emeloort, passed by without incident, documenting what they saw of the coastline as they went. Others, such as the Zeewijk, shipwrecked on treacherous reefs or fell victim to rough seas. Detailed ship journals tell of the fates of crew members, details of food resources, and cunning escape and rescue plans.
The Western Australian Museum has made digitised ship journals available for viewing on the Online Collections site. The original journal pages can be viewed along with transcriptions and translations of the text.
Three ship journals (partial and complete) have been made available so far.