These two old, weathered pewter plates are not the largest or most colourful items displayed in the “Travellers & Traders” exhibition at the Western Australian Maritime Museum – but they are the most interesting, especially for West Australians.
The plate above is Dirk Hartog’s plate, which was left on Dirk Hartog Island in 1616, when the Dutch ship Eendracht visited Western Australia. That was over 150 years before Captain Cook cruised along the east coast of Australia.
Then in 1697, another Dutch ship captained by Willem de Vlamingh found Hartog’s plate, replaced it with a plate of their own, and took Hartog’s one back to Amsterdam. Today it is part of the Rijksmuseum’s collection.