This article details the importance of the 1705 Van Delft expedition for the early European history and culture contacts of northern Australia. The expedition sailed from Batavia with three ships under the command of Maarten van Delft and spent nearly three and half months exploring along the north coast of Australia—Tiwi Islands, Cobourg Peninsula and Crooker Island. Along the way, they interacted with different groups of Indigenous peoples and possibly collected the cultural material now held in the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures—the earliest known existing cultural material collected from Australia. This article provides a detailed synthesis of Indigenous interactions with the Dutch prior to 1770 and accords the Van Delft expedition its proper significance in terms of the extent and detail of its survey and its importance in ending Dutch colonial interest in Australia. Through detailed analysis of the primary sources for the Van Delft expedition, including cartography, this study demonstrates that the expedition covered parts of the Australian mainland and Croker Island, and that Van Delft’s crews interacted with mainland Indigenous groups as well as Tiwi Islanders.
|Number of pages
|Australasian Journal of Maritime Archaeology
|Published - 2019