October 25, 2016 marks 400th anniversary of Dirk Hartog's landing off WA coast
New $6.1 million foreshore redevelopment and stunning art piece officially opened in Denham
Duyfken cannon to signal end of commemorative event at Dirk Hartog Island
A series of community events and celebrations in Shark Bay tomorrow (October 25) will mark the 400th anniversary of Dutch skipper Dirk Hartog's landing off the Western Australian coast.
Hartog landed at what is now called Cape Inscription on October 25, 1616, leaving a pewter dish inscribed with details of his voyage nailed to a post; the oldest such physical evidence of European contact with Australia.
Culture and the Arts Minister John Day will represent Premier Colin Barnett at a commemorative event tomorrow morning on Dirk Hartog Island.
Mr Day will unveil copies of Hartog's dish and Willem de Vlamingh's dish that replaced it in 1697. The structure, installed near the cleft where Hartog placed his original dish nailed to a wooden post, casts a striking presence on the headland. He will also unveil new interpretive material at Cape Inscription.
The replica Dutch ship of the era, the Duyfken, will sit offshore during the ceremony which will be attended by representatives of the Dutch Government, the Shire of Shark Bay and members of the public, and will sound her cannon to signal the end of the event.
Mr Barnett said the Liberal National Government had invested more than $15 million to mark the 400th anniversary, including a significant investment in infrastructure and commemorations through Royalties for Regions.
The Premier will be joined in Denham by Regional Development Minister Terry Redman to officially open the $6.1 million redevelopment of the town site and foreshore.
"Denham has been transformed with a new jetty, the redeveloped foreshore and striking art piece which has already become a photo opportunity enjoyed by visitors to the spectacular Shark Bay World Heritage Area," Mr Barnett said.
"Tomorrow also signals the end of the five-day Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616 Festival, and I would like to congratulate all involved in putting on a fun and interesting program for the thousands of visitors who have travelled here."
Mr Barnett and Mr Redman will also unveil new state-of-the-art digital multimedia panels in the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery and Visitor Centre, which offer an exciting and modern way to learn, explore and become immersed in 400 years of history.
"Similar to how the interactive display in the National Anzac Centre has drawn people to Albany, I expect that the digital panels in the Discovery Centre, together with other new attractions in the region, will also encourage visitors to take a west turn at the Overlander Roadhouse," the Premier said.
Mr Redman said Denham was a tourism hub for the Gascoyne region and the significant investment into revitalisation would provide the community with a lasting legacy.
"We expect to see employment opportunities for local businesses generated as a result of this redevelopment; another example of the value of the Royalties for Regions program for communities," he said.
People can also learn about Dirk Hartog, his voyage and his legacy through a new website developed by the Western Australian Museum, which brings together stories of the VOC and Dutch shipwrecks.
As a follow-on to the 400th anniversary, the Hartog and de Vlamingh dishes will be reunited in Perth for the Travellers and Traders in The Indian Ocean World exhibition at the Maritime Museum from October 31, 2016.
Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will visit WA next week as part of a State Visit to Australia and will officially open the Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World exhibition at the Maritime Museum in Fremantle
The Liberal National Government has committed $5.7 million from Royalties for Regions, through the Gascoyne Revitalisation Plan, to the redevelopment of the Denham foreshore and main street
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700