The first recorded European landing in Australia was made by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606. Janszoon was part of an expedition organized by the Dutch East India Company, which aimed to find new trade routes and establish a colony in the region.
Janszoon and his crew set sail from the Dutch port of Bantam in the West Java region of Indonesia in October 1605, aboard the ship Duyfken. They navigated through the islands of the Southeast Asian archipelago, making stops in Banda and Ternate, before crossing the Torres Strait and reaching the coast of what is now Cape York Peninsula in northern Australia.
On February 26, 1606, Janszoon and a small party of men disembarked from the Duyfken and made landfall on the mainland at a place that is now known as Pennefather River. The exact location of the landing is not known for certain, but it is believed to have been somewhere in the vicinity of the present-day community of Weipa.
Janszoon’s expedition was the first recorded European landing on the Australian continent, predating the arrival of the British navigator Captain James Cook by more than 160 years. However, it is important to note that there is evidence that other Europeans, particularly the Portuguese, may have visited the Australian coast before Janszoon.
Janszoon and his crew spent several weeks exploring the area, making contact with the Indigenous peoples they encountered and collecting specimens of plants and animals. However, the expedition was not a success in terms of finding new trade routes or establishing a colony, and the Duyfken returned to Bantam in June 1606 with little to show for its voyage.
Despite the failure of Janszoon’s expedition, his landing in Australia was an important event in the history of European exploration and colonization of the continent. It marked the beginning of more than 200 years of Dutch exploration and contact with the Australian continent, during which time Dutch sailors and scientists made many significant contributions to the mapping and understanding of the region.
It also opened a door for other European countries to explore this unknown land in the future.