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 - Introduction -


    The Duyfken, launched in 1595, was a small sail ship constructed in the Netherlands.  She was fast and lightly armed (with only 8 cannon), probably intended for shallow water exploration.  

The Duyfken replica ship

    Ships of similar stature to the Duyfken were utilized in many different ways.  These probably included transportation of small but valuable cargos, delivering of messages and provisions and also privateering.  The Duyfken displaced almost one-hundred tonnes of water, she was twenty metres long, six metres long and had a top speed of 7 knots (13 km/h or 8.1 mph).

An old sailors map

    In 1603 the Duyfken was captained by Willem Janzoon in an exploration of the South seas.  In 1606 Janz became the first known European to sight the Australian coast.

    The Duyfken was seriously damaged in 1608 and was never rebuilt.  However, in 1999 Dutch born Australian historian Michael Young instigated the building of a full scale replica Duyfken with a budget of 3.5 million dollars.  In 2006 the Western Australian government supported a 400th anniversary replica voyage of the Duyfken.  This replica is located in Fremantle, Western Australia.

An illustration of the Duyfken

For further reading:

1. Sent Forth a Dove: Discovery of the Duyfken by James Henderson

2. Duyfken Official Replica Website -

Researched and Written By

Cody B. Mitchell


Summary:  An small, Dutch built, eight cannon ship which displaced one hundred tonnes

Date:  Launched in 1595

Location:  Holland, Europe



The Duyfken was the ship which transported Dutch sailor William Janzoon on his explorations of the South Seas.  Janzoon became the first European to sight Australia.

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