A map depicting shipping routes through the Indian Ocean in 16th and 17th century

Four hundred years ago a sailing voyage from Europe to Java, via Madagascar, would take almost 12 months, with an enormous toll on the health of all aboard.

In 1611 Dutch captain Hendrik Brouwer made a calculated venture across the southern Indian Ocean with the Roaring Forties winds before turning north, and in doing so cut the voyage to six months. Brouwer’s journey became known as the Brouwer Route.

Jeremy Green, Head of Department of Maritime Archaeology at the Western Australian Museum will present a public lecture on Problem of longitude in relation to the discovery of Australia at the WA Museum – Geraldton on Saturday 3 September 2011.

Mr Green said the benefit of the Brouwer Route was a shorter voyage and it played a major role in the European discovery of the west coast of Australia, it did however lead to several significant shipwrecks including the Tryall, Batavia, Vergulde Draeck, Zuytdorp and Zeewijk.

“Brower’s journey led to the discovery of the western part of Australia by Dirk Hartog in 1616,” Mr Green said.

“Following the discovery, map makers were faced with the problem that because longitude was imprecise the exact location of the continent on a map was difficult to place.

“Inevitably shipwrecks occurred and even in the 19th Century places such as Point Cloates, off the North West Cape of WA, were still uncertain.

“Only with the advent of accurate chronometers (maritime clocks) in the 18th Century was longitude more precisely determined.”

The Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association recognises the significance of Brouwer’s discovery and invited Mr Green to present this lecture at 6:30pm on 3 September 2011 at the WA Museum – Geraldton.

LECTURE: Problem of longitude in relation to the discovery of Australia
WHEN: Saturday 3 September 2011, 6.30pm
WHERE: WA Museum – Geraldton, Museum Place, Batavia Coast Marina, Geraldton.
BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: www.museum.wa.gov.au/inthewildwest
COST: By gold coin donation