Spice at any price

Spice at any Price….

Almost 150 years before Lieutenant Cook charted the east coast of Australia, navigators linked to Holland’s famous spice trade were recording its west coast. 2019 marks 400 years since navigator Frederick de Houtman explored the Houtman Abrolhos islands off present day Geraldton in Western Australia.

Houtman was an experienced navigator, assisting Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser with astronomical observations during the very first Dutch expedition to the East Indies in 1595. In 1618, he set sail on another Dutch East Indies Company voyage on Dordrecht and Amsterdam with Jacob d’Edel, sighting the coast near present day Perth which they named d’Edelsland. Sailing northwards, Houtman encountered and narrowly avoided mishap on a cluster of shoals he named the Houtman Abrolhos. A decade later, the islands became notorious a decade later when  Francis Pelseart’s Batavia came to grief there and a bloody slaughter ensued.

Join noted author Dr Howard Gray, author of a new biography Spice at any Price as he unpacks the story of this fascinating but overlooked figure in the charting of our continent.  Associate Professor in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University, Wendy Van Duivenvoorde, will also talk about her research into Dutch interactions with Australia prior to 1770 and the earliest known historic accounts and material remains of Dutch-Indigenous interactions on Australian soil.

Please reserve your place to this FREE event on our Trybooking site

In a nod to the ‘spirit’ of these Dutch voyages, gin cocktails will be served by our fabulous sponsors Kangaroo Island Spirits.

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The South Australian Maritime Museum and History Trust of South Australia acknowledges the First Nations peoples of South Australia, whose connection to country and living cultures began in time immemorial and continues to the present. We affirm our commitment to advancing reconciliation.