Willem Janszoon bigraphy, stories - Dutch explorer

Willem Janszoon : biography

- 1630
Not to be confused with Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571–1638), a contemporary Dutch cartographer

Willem Janszoon (c. 1570–1630), Dutch navigator and colonial governor, is the first European known to have seen the coast of Australia - in 1606. His name is sometimes abbreviated to Willem Jansz. (with or without the full stop).The patronym Janszoon means “son of Jan,” or son of “Johannes” (Janszoon in Dutch). In the early seventeenth century this was already pronounced as “Janse.” This is similar to Johnson in English. Surnames were often not used and children were simply named for their father's given name. In areas where not many people lived he would simply be given the name Willem Jansz, so all we know about him is that his father’s name was Johannes or Jan. As in many countries, genealogy and historical research in the Netherlands can be difficult for this reason. See Janszoon served in the Netherlands East Indies for several periods 1603–11, 1612–16, including a period as governor of Fort Henricus on Solor.Mutch (1942), p43


On 18 November 1605, the Duyfken sailed from Bantam to the coast of western New Guinea. Janszoon then crossed the eastern end of the Arafura Sea, without seeing the Torres Strait, into the Gulf of Carpentaria. On 26 February 1606, he made landfall at the Pennefather River on the western shore of Cape York in Queensland, near the modern town of Weipa. This is the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent. Janszoon proceeded to chart some 320 km of the coastline, which he thought was a southerly extension of New Guinea.

Finding the land swampy and the people inhospitable (ten of his men were killed on various shore expeditions), at Cape Keerweer (“Turnabout”), south of Albatross Bay, Willem Janszoon decided to return and arrived at Bantam in June 1606. He called the land he had discovered “Nieu Zeland” after the Dutch province of Zeeland, but the name was not adopted and was later used by Abel Tasman for New Zealand.

The Duyfken was actually in Torres Strait in March 1606, a few months before Luís Vaz de Torres sailed through it. In 1607 Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge sent him to Ambon and Banda.http://gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogI-K.html#jansz1 In 1611 Janszoon returned to the Netherlands believing that the south coast of New Guinea was joined to the land along which he sailed, and Dutch maps reproduced this error for many years. Though there have been suggestions that earlier navigators from China, France, or Portugal may have discovered parts of Australia, the Duyfken is the first European vessel definitely known to have done so.

Second voyage to Australia

Janszoon reported that on 31 July 1618, he had landed on an island at 22° South with a length of 22 miles and 240 miles SSE of the Sunda Strait.Heeres (1899), p13 This is generally interpreted as a description of the peninsula from Point Cloates () to North West Cape () on the Western Australian coast, which Janszoon presumed was an island, without fully circumnavigating it.Mutch (1942), p46



The original journal and log made during Janszoon’s 1606 voyage have been lost. The Duyfken chart, which shows the location of the first landfall in Australia by the Duyfken, had a better fate. It was still in existence in Amsterdam when Hessel Gerritsz made his Map of the Pacific in 1622, and placed the Duyfken geography upon it, thus providing us with the first map to contain any part of Australia. The chart was still in existence about 1670, when a copy was made, which eventually went to the Imperial Library in Vienna and remained forgotten there for two hundred years. The map is part of the Atlas Blaeu Van der Hem, brought to Vienna in 1730 by Prince Eugene of Savoy. The information from his charts was included in the marble and copper maps of the hemispheres on the floor of The Citizens’ Hall of the Royal Palace Amsterdamhttp://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/60542/20060914-0000/www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/southland/index.html South Land to New Holland: Dutch Charting of Australia 1606–1756http://www.historychannel.com.au/tv-shows/showDetails.aspx?show=617

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine