THE dish which once marked the first known European landing on Australian shores is heading to Fremantle for the 400th anniversary of that voyage.
Dirk Hartog’s dish is the oldest European artifact ever found on Australian soil. It will be displayed alongside other significant artifacts as part of a WA Maritime Museum partnership exhibition with the British Museum.
The Dutch explorer left the inscribed pewter dish on an island that now bears his name off the Gascoyne coast, when he landed during his brief visit on October 25, 1616.
Fellow dutchman Willem de Vlamingh swept down the roaring 40s to the same location in 1697, replaced the dish with his own, and took Hartog’s back to the Netherlands where it currently resides.
The Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World exhibition is only the second time the two dishes have been on display side by side, the first being during the Australian bicentennial in 1988.
Minister for Culture and the Arts John Day says that given the fragility of the Hartog dish it will probably be the last time it will travel to Australia.
On loan from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, Hartog’s dish will be joined by over 100 other Indian Ocean objects, including paintings, sculptures, early maps of the region and other objects on loan from other Australian museums and private collectors.
Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World will open October 31 and continue through to April 2017.
by SOPHIE MOORE