Marking 400 years since Dirk Hartog and the crew of the Eendracht made history as the first recorded European visitors to land on Australian shores, this coin is inspired by the inscribed pewter plate noting their arrival.
For centuries before the arrival of Dirk Hartog and his crew at Shark Bay, Australia was beset with mystery and intrigue. While many burgeoning nations were interested in expanding their empires at the time, not least Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands, the name the land was given (Terra Incognita - Unknown Land) spoke of the challenges colonisation would present.
Due to the competitive nature of these countries, each chose to pursue the spice trade throughout Asia, as opposed to exploration of this great land mass. Subsequently many sightings and chartings of various parts of the Australian coastline would be kept secret. After being separated from the fleet, Hartog and his crew came across the islands of Shark Bay due in some part to serendipity. The gesture of leaving behind their marker, the inscribed pewter plate, would mean that their place in the history of Australia was assured. This plate was eventually returned to Hartog’s home country, the Netherlands, with a replica left in its place. The original 1616 plate remains on display in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.