FREMANTLE played host to royalty on Monday as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands officially opened a new exhibition at the Maritime Museum.
After a visit to WA Governor Kerry Sanderson at Government House, their Majesties were taken on a heritage walking tour along Victoria Quay and the Maritime Museum, where they unveiled the Dirk Hartog dish as part of Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World.
The exhibition will showcase the role of the Indian Ocean in WA’s history, a history which the Dutch East India Company played a large part in.
Their Majesties also visited the Shipwreck Galleries, which houses the wreck of Dutch ship the Batavia.
On Tuesday they will tour Shell Australia and Curtin University, as well as watching the Melbourne Cup from Ascot Race Course.
Premier Colin Barnett said the visit coincided with the 400th anniversary of the landing of Dutch skipper Dirk Hartog on what is now known as Dirk Hartog Island.
The Dirk Hartog Plate
WA’s most historically significant piece of crockery has returned, 400 years after it first arrived on local shores.
When Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog landed at Shark Bay in 1616, he left behind a pewter plate as a marker of their visit, inscribing it with details of their voyage.
It is considered the oldest European object found in Australia.
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing, the Dirk Hartog Dish has been loaned to the Maritime Museum from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and will be the centrepiece of the Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World exhibition, open until April 23 next year.
William de Vlamingh’s 1697 plate, which was erected at the same location to replace the Dirk Hartog Dish, which had weathered and fallen, will also be exhibited.