Willem Jansz

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Willem Jansz (or Janszoon, Janssen) (fl. 1602-1628),Dutch navigator and commander, was the first European recorded as having contact with the mainland of Australia.

He entered history as commander of the yacht Duyfken, one of a fleet of vessels that sailed from Holland to the East during 1603-4. In 1605-6, still with the tiny Duyfken, he sailed along the south coast of New Guinea, and crossed the western entrance of Torres Strait to explore what is now the west (Carpentaria) coast of Cape York in far north Queensland.

He subsequently enjoyed a successful, if not spectacular, career in the Dutch East India Company in the East and Europe as trader and military commander before dropping from sight in 1629.


In January 1999 a replica of the yacht Duyfken was launched from a specially built shipyard in Perth, Western Australia and has made voyages to places visited by the original ship 400 years before, including her home port in Holland.

See also