On this day ………… 25th February 1834
It is also generally accepted that the Dutch were disinclined to colonise Australia, and that the first European settlement occurred with the convicts, marines and officers of the First Fleet. This, however, is not entirely the case. The first prisoners in Australia were Dutch seamen Wouter Loos and Jan Pellegrimsz de Beye who were abandoned on the mainland for their part in the murders of the passengers of the wrecked ship ‘Batavia’ in June 1629. This was not the only time that Dutch made Australia their home. It is estimated that, between 1629 and 1727, around 300 Dutch passengers and crew linked to the Dutch East India company occupied parts of Western Australia as a result of the many shipwrecks which occurred off the coast of what was then known as “New Holland”. On 25 February 1834, English newspaper ‘The Leeds Mercury’ reported on the findings of a secret English expedition to Australia which had taken place in 1832. Led by Lieutenant Nixon, the expedition claimed to have discovered a settlement of several hundred Europeans who were descendants of Dutch survivors from shipwrecks between the mid 1600s and early 1700s, such as the Vergulde Draeck (1656), the Concordia (1708), the Zuytdorp (1712), and the Zeewijck (1727). The survivors were said to have established a colony some 1500 km from the coast, in central Australia’s Palm Valley. However, although Palm Valley exists as a desert oasis in the Red Centre, no evidence of, or artifacts from, such a colony have ever been located.