Little Dove gets the shove
SADNESS AS THE DUYFKEN SETS SAIL FOR SYDNEY.
A LONG-time Fremantle maritime volunteer says the impending loss of the Duyfken is a crushing blow as the replica ship gets ready to sail into the sunset and leave Fremantle for Sydney.
The replica of the Dutch vessel that landed on Australian shores in 1606, the first European vessel to do so — a full 154 years before Captain Cook — will set sail in November after losing funding from the State Government.
The ship was built in Fremantle in 1999 before sailing across the world and returning to the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour in 2012.
Since then the State Government has contributed about $2.5 million to the ship’s ongoing maintenance, refurbishment and staffing but made its final payment to its upkeep in July last year.
Facing costs of more than $450,000 a year, the ship’s custodians have made the difficult decision to move it to the Australian National Maritime Museum on the east coast. Debbie Gibson, who was a volunteer with the Duyfken as well as the Endeavour replica previously moored in Fremantle, said the ship’s imminent departure was sad news.
“I was shocked, dismayed and astonished because already Fremantle has lost the Endeavour and this was another nail in the coffin,” she said.
“This is our Dutch history, not the east coast’s.”
Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation chief executive Peter Bowman said they had looked for alternate funding in WA but to no avail.
While it has sailed all over the world, Mr Bowman believes that its most profound impact was home in WA.
“A lot of people are very connected to this ship here in WA,” he said.
“You should see the letters we get back from the kids after their excursions. They just love it.”
A State Government spokeswoman welcomed news of the ship’s new home in the National Maritime Museum.
“This will give other States the opportunity to experiencethis national asset,” she said.
The Duyfken replica has found a new home in Sydney after funding from the WA Government dried up.