On this day ………… 26th February 1606
Willem Janszoon, often known as Willem Jansz, is believed to have been born in 1570, in the Netherlands. He worked for one of the trading companies which preceded the Dutch East India Company. He sailed for the Dutch East Indies first in 1598 and again in 1601. Willem Jansz departed on his third trip to the East Indies on 18 December 1603, commanding the “Duyfken”. His task was to seek other trade possibilities. He reached the coast of western New Guinea on 18 November 1605, then crossed the Arafura Sea into the Gulf of Carpentaria. On 26 February 1606, Jansz became the first recorded European to step foot on Australia’s shores at the Pennefather River, near where the Queensland town of Weipa now stands, on the western shore of Cape York Peninsula. Encountering hostility from the indigenous people, Jansz lost ten of his crew during visits to the shore. He was uncomplimentary of the land, finding it swampy, but still charted 320 kilometres of the shore before returning to the Netherlands. However, he was of the opinion that his landing point was part of New Guinea, and Dutch maps reflected this error for many years.