I'm currently reading 1606 by Evan McHugh, a well written account of the history of European discovery of Australia. Of course, we all know that James Cook was just the first European to lay eyes on the east coast of Australia, triggering the later foundation of New South Wales as a penal colony for the British.
But it is the Dutch who lay claim to have "discovered" Australia. They could not see much use for the place but charted the west and north coasts, as they were important as faster shipping route to the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. The book tracks the history of the various encounters with "New Holland". It's well worth a read.
I have not seen much celebration of the 400th anniversary down here, although there is a tour of the replica of the "Duyfken" in progress. The Dutch, meanwhile, feel the occasion is worth a commemorative 5 Euro coin. I just received some copies from a relative (thanks Yvonne).
If the Dutch had any foresight like the British, they would have realised the potential for using the place as a prison. But they didn't or else we'd be speaking some Dutch dialect and the club would be called the Koninklijke Zeil Vereniging Prins Willem (KZVPW). Not the same ring as RPAYC, eh?
Marius Coomans (Te Moana)