Willem Janszoon was born in the Netherlands circa 1570. Nothing is known about his parents, or early childhood. The first record of him is when he went to work for the Oude compagnie, the predecessor of the Dutch East India Company in 1598. He served as a mate aboard the Hollandia being dispatched to the Dutch East Indies in 1601.
By 1603, he was captain in charge of the Duyfken sailing to Java. When he left Java, he was ordered to search for other outlets of trade. He sailed to New Guinea and other East and Southlands for trade. He returned in 1606. In 1617 he was appointed a member of the Council of the Indies serving as admiral of the Dutch Defense fleet. He was awarded a gold chain and 1,000 guilders for his part in capturing four ships of the British East India Company near Tiku on West Sumatra.
In 1628, he sailed for Holland, and that is the last known place where he landed. Nothing is known about him after that, it is written he died around 1630, but no-one knows.
What you may not know about Willem is that during his exploratory sailing from 1603-1605 he recorded having seen what he thought at the time was an island. Turns out he was the first European known to have seen the coast of Australia and record it.
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