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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
29 March 2006
Schoolchildren could learn the ‘unfiltered, raw’ early history of Australia from the 12,000km voyage of a tiny Dutch replica ship – the Duyfken – due to sail from Fremantle next week, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
The Duyfken’s nine-month, all-states voyage to mark the 400th anniversary of the first recorded European contact with the Unknown Southern Land would tell history in the raw and without the filters of interpretation, Senator Campbell said.
“This commemorative journey marks in a very real way the discovery and mapping of this continent by the extraordinary seafaring explorers of the small number of developed countries in the northern hemisphere, in this case the Netherlands.
“When Willem Janzoon and his crew landed on the western side of Cape York Peninsula in 1606, they started the gathering of knowledge that led to the settlement and development of one of the world’s great democracies.
“The chronology of that part of Australia’s history is not as well known as I think it should be, and I agree with the Prime Minister’s view that we need to know our beginnings to understand ourselves.”
In a speech to mark Australia Day this year, the Prime Minister said:
“… what I want is a recognition that you cannot get people to understand the history of a country unless you have some kind of chronological narrative teaching of history. And this idea that we should move away from sort of knowing when the battle of Hastings was or knowing when Captain Cook came to Australia or knowing when certain things occurred simply because that's an old hat rote way of learning is ridiculous. You have to have some structure. You can't learn history by teaching issues. You can only learn and understand history by knowing what happened, why it happened and of course teaching of issues and influences is clearly part of that.”
(Prime Minister, National Press Club, 25 January 2006)
“This voyage by the Duyfken will give thousands of schoolchildren and adults alike the opportunity to get an authentic feel of what it was like for those intrepid sailors to journey to the unknown land 400 years ago and to appreciate history in the raw.”
Senator Campbell was speaking at the National Museum in Canberra at the launching of commemorative group Australia on the Map’s 400th anniversary celebrations. He said the Australian Government had committed $495,000 to the voyage.
The voyage was a partnership between the Australian Government, as major sponsor, Australia on the Map and the owner-operators of the ship, the Duyfken Replica Foundation in Fremantle.
Senator Campbell said the Duyfken (which means ‘Little Dove’) would visit 25 ports.
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434