Homing Dove

THE Duyfken is back in Fremantle for winter.

For the first time in nearly 10 years, the 17th century replica spent the summer cruising upriver in Perth.

John Longley says cranes had to be brought in to remove the Duyfken’s giant masts so it could sneak under bridges and make it back to Fremantle.

“Don’t worry, we weren’t using the Duyfken for booze cruises on the Swan River,” he laughs.

“It was more about giving people who get sea sick a chance to experience a calmer voyage.

“We were based at the Mount Bay Sailing Club and operated out of there.”

No-booze cruise

Continuing the booze-cruise theme, Mr Longley notes that early Dutch sailors drank brandy on long ocean-going voyages.

“The Dutch were great beer drinkers, but that usually went off after about six weeks at sea, so they started hitting the brandy instead,” he says.

“The Dutch invented [modern] brandy and it sustained them on long trawls across the ocean.”

The Duyfken, whose role in Australia’s colonisation is now part of the grade four curriculum, will do half-a-dozen day sails during the winter season.

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• The Duyfken moored off Little Creatures in Fremantle. Photo by Stephen Pollock

“The boat is a great way of making education fun,” Mr Longley says.

“People can visit the nearby maritime and shipwreck museums and then have a snoop around the Duyfken in the harbour.”

The 110-tonne replica of the original Duyfken (Little Dove) was built in Fremantle and launched in 1999, and has since sailed to Asia, Europe and around Australia.

Next year the ship will play a key part in celebrations for the 400-year anniversary of Dirk Hartog’s landing at Cape Inscription—the first recorded landing of Europeans in WA.

Ten years earlier, in 1606, the Duyfken’s crew became the first Europeans known to have cast eyes on the east coast.


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