October 25, 2016 marks 400th anniversary of Dirk Hartog's landing on WA coast
$6.116 million revamp of Denham to underpin the State's commemorations
New attractions and infrastructure to be lasting legacies
Western Australia will mark the 400th anniversary of Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog's landing off Shark Bay on the Western Australian coast with a series of community events and celebrations in October next year.
Premier Colin Barnett and Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Denham foreshore and main street would also be rejuvenated ahead of the anniversary through the State Government's Royalties for Regions program.
This $6.116 million project will revamp the town centre and provide new facilities and amenities in the main Denham town site and foreshore, balancing the area's rich history with new development while maintaining Shark Bay's world heritage values.
Mr Barnett said special community celebrations, a commemorative ocean journey and the establishment of new attractions at historic sites would also mark the anniversary.
"Hartog's landing in 1616 - on what is now Dirk Hartog Island - is significant because he left behind a pewter plate inscribed with a record of his visit, the oldest such physical evidence of European contact with Australia," Mr Barnett said.
"This anniversary provides a real opportunity for Australians to learn more about the Dirk Hartog story and our early maritime history."
The State Government will provide $820,000 towards initiatives to mark this significant occasion, including new attractions and infrastructure on Dirk Hartog Island and in Denham.
There will also be a function at Cape Inscription on the northernmost tip of Dirk Hartog Island, and a Dirk Hartog Festival in Denham.
As part of the commemorations, copies of Hartog's plate - and the plate that Willem de Vlamingh replaced it with in 1697 - will be embedded at Cape Inscription, and Dirk Hartog interpretive material will be installed on the new Denham foreshore.
The Premier said a commemorative journey by the replica Dutch ship of the era, the Duyfken, along the Western Australian coast to Denham was expected to be one of the highlights of the celebrations. The Duyfken would then moor in Shark Bay for the period of the commemoration for public tours.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Denham foreshore was a key focal point for the town and the new look would provide vibrant public spaces that catered for a wide range of community, tourism and commercial needs.
"Being surrounded by the spectacular Shark Bay World Heritage Area makes Denham a tourism hub for the Gascoyne region and the revitalisation will provide the community with a long-lasting legacy," Mr Redman said.
"The flow-on effects of the redevelopment will generate employment opportunities for local businesses and improve quality of life for the wider community.
"This is another example of the Government's commitment to ensure regional communities are exciting and sustainable places to live, work and visit through Royalties for Regions."
The State Government has committed $5.7 million from Royalties for Regions, through the Gascoyne Revitalisation Plan, to the $6.116 million rejuvenation of the Denham foreshore and main street.
The Denham foreshore redevelopment is one of a number of projects being delivered through the Gascoyne Revitalisation Plan. Other projects include the Denham Recreational Jetty and Monkey Mia Jetty Replacement.
Dirk Hartog was the first known European explorer to land on the WA coast. On October 25, 1616 his vessel the Eendracht made landfall at Dirk Hartog Island off the coast of Shark Bay. The State Government worked with the Shire of Shark Bay, Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW), Western Australian Museum, Gascoyne Development Commission and the Dutch Government to develop the commemorative initiatives
Other State Government initiatives include the development of a new website by the WA Museum about Hartog and early maritime history, new interpretive panels for the Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage at Cape Inscription and upgrading the Hartog material within the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre
As a lead in to the commemorations, DPAW is managing a groundbreaking project to restore the vegetation and habitats of Dirk Hartog Island. Known as "˜Return to 1616', the project will see the removal of introduced plants and animals, reintroduction of locally extinct wildlife, and implementation of practical biosecurity measures to protect the island
Gascoyne Revitalisation Plan is investing $150 million over six years to deliver major infrastructure and community priority initiatives in the Gascoyne region to develop a strong social and economic base to assist the region achieving its potential for growth
The Gascoyne Development Commission and members of the Gascoyne Advisory Group have played a key role in providing a local perspective in the identification and recommendation of initiatives being delivered through the Gascoyne Revitalisation Plan
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700