So after a visit to the Shark Bay Discovery Centre – it seems that we might owe Dirk Hartog a small apology for accusing him of tossing away the french bottle with the coin in it, and replacing it with his pewter plate, claiming the island as his own…… Well it appears that we were wrong – so here’s the real story.
25th October, 1616 – Dirk and his team arrive and nail up the plate which says:
“1616, the 25th October, is here arrived the ship the Eendracht of Amsterdam, the upper-merchant Gillis Miebais of Liege, skipper Dirk Hartog of Amsterdam; the 27th ditto set sail again for Bantam, the under merchant Jan Stins, the upper steersman Pieter Dookes van Bill, Anno 1616.”
Whatever that means?
Then in February of 1697, Dutch navigator, Willem de Vlamingh landed on Dirk Hartog Island. They climbed the cliff and found the post still standing, but with the plate fallen to the ground nearby.
Then….. Vlamingh decided to replace Dirk’s plate with one of his own. He had a pewter plate about the same size, inscribed Dirk’s original text above and below he recorded his own visit. Then he nailed his plate up on a new post next to where Dirk had his and took Dirk’s original plate to Batavia.
1699 – William Dampier turned up at the island, but he was more interested in collecting plants than nailing in his own plate.
1772 – The French captain landed in Turtle Bay and instructed his crew to proceed at least 10 kms inland and take possession of the land for France. On their return to the coast, as instructed, they buried an annexation document in a bottle at the foot of a small tree and placed a silver coin in its lead seal.
Some other people came after that and did some other things, but I think I’ve covered what I needed to make this an authentic retraction.