Last Weekend, Joy and I spent the weekend visiting ports south of Sydney in preparation for our Christmas cruise. A few years ago when we were returning from Jervis Bay, we pushed on to Port Hacking in tough conditions when we should have diverted to another port such as Wollongong or Port Kembla. So we thought we'd survey a few alternative ports. First up we dropped into Wollongong Harbour, where we were surprised to find "Duyfken", a replica of the Dutch ship which explored part of Australia's northern coastline 400 years ago this year.
In another place, I have expressed some views about the (lack of) celebration of this event. I can't help feeling that the story of the Dutch discovering Australia interferes with the James Cook mythology and therefore hasn't captured the imagination in Australia. Of course it didn't help that the Dutch saw Australia as little more than an obstacle on their way to the present Indonesia. They saw nothing worth trading or pillaging down here, which is ironic in the present context when Australia thrives on the back of exporting the mineral resources found in the regions which the Dutch explored in those days.
Whatever the reason, the celebration of the 400th anniversay and the journey of Duyfken around Australia hasn't had much attention this year, which is a pity. Duyfken is well worth a look when it comes to a port near you. The schedule is on the Duyfken website.