The Dutch in Australia
Of all the European countries that have interacted with Australia, none has a longer association than the Netherlands. The Australian Department of Home Affairs begins its history of the Dutch and the Great South Land this way:
“In early 1606, William Jansz of Amsterdam, captain of the Duyfken (Little Dove) landed on Cape York Peninsula.” This was the first recorded landing of Europeans on the Australian continent. Jansz (or Janszoon) was on a trading mission from Java, then a colony of the Dutch East India Company.
Dirk Hartog and Australia
The Duyfken website reports that “In 1616, Dirk Hartog and the crew of a Dutch East India Company vessel, the Eendracht, became the first Europeans to sight the coast of what we now know as Western Australia. The Eendracht had accidently reached Western Australia after being pushed further eastward than expected by strong winds in the roaring forties. By the time Hartog decided to head north, he was within sight of Australia’s western coast.
“Hartog and his men entered the history books as the first Europeans to walk on the west coast of Australia.
“Hartog became the second person to map a section of Australia’s coastline when he charted over 400km from Shark Bay to North West Cape.” Source: The Duyfken website.
Later Dutch-Australian History
“By 1644, Abel Tasman had completed a partial circumnavigation of Australia which revealed, for the first time, the size of the continent. The resulting incomplete map of New Holland was not superseded until the arrival of Captain Cook in 1770.
“During the 1850s gold rushes, Dutch merchant ships continued to visit Australia but immigration from the Netherlands remained negligible. Until 1947, when the Census recorded 2174 Netherlands-born, the number of people arriving from the Netherlands was largely balanced by the number of departures. This trend has continued to the present day, apart from a period of high migration during the 1950s and 1960s.
“After World War II, the Netherlands suffered economically and socially. With an already high population density, a relatively small land area and the highest birth rate in Europe, the Netherlands faced a severe housing crisis and rising unemployment, due mainly to the mechanisation of agriculture. Authorities actively supported emigration as a partial solution to the problem of overcrowding.
“Meanwhile, Australia was looking for acceptable migrants from non-British sources. The hard-working rural Dutch, with their linguistic and cultural affinities with the Australian population, were seen to be ideal immigrants. Both the Australian and Netherlands governments contributed to the cost of passage, and the Australian Government accepted the responsibility for assisting settlement.
“As a result, during the 1950s Australia was the destination of 30 per cent of Dutch emigrants and the Netherlands-born became numerically the second largest non-British group. Their numbers peaked in 1961 at 102,130.” Source: The Australian Department of Home Affairs.
How Australia Got Its Name
The first name given to what was later to become the country of Australia was Terra Australis Incognita (the Unknown Great South Land), a term that was originated in the fifth century for a hypothetical great southern hemisphere continent.
The continent of Australia received later names from the early Dutch explorers who actually landed here. The Duyfken website further reports that Dirk Hartog “gave Australia its first European name, ‘Eendrachtsland’, after his ship. This name – along with others referring to different parts of the Australian coast – appeared on Dutch maps until 1644. It was then that Abel Tasman replaced these names with a single one – ‘New Holland’.” Source: The Duyfken website.
Wikipedia reports that the New Holland “name came for a time to be applied in most European maps to the vaunted ‘Southern land’ or Terra Australis even after its coastline was finally explored.
“New Holland continued to be used semi-officially and in popular usage as the name for the whole land mass until at least the mid-1850s.” Source: Wikipedia
Although the Dutch were the first recorded Europeans to explore Australia, Wikipedia reports that “Except for giving its name to the land, neither the Netherlands nor the Dutch East India Company claimed any territory in Australia as its own. Although many Dutch expeditions visited the coast during the 200 years after the first Dutch visit in 1606, there was no lasting attempt at establishment of a permanent settlement. Most of the explorers of this period concluded that the apparent lack of water and fertile soil made the region unsuitable for colonisation.” Source Wikipedia.
Australia was federated as a sovereign nation in 1901, taking the name “Australia” (from the latin australis or in English, southern); a name that was made popular beginning in 1804 by English explorer Mathew Flinders. Source: Wikipedia.
Australian and The Netherlands During World War II
Australia and the Netherlands assisted each other during World War II. The National Library of Australia records that “In March 1942, Java in the Netherlands East Indies was attacked by the Japanese, prompting a hurried evacuation to Broome, in the north of Western Australia.” Source: National Library of Australia.
Wikipedia continues this story: “A number of people from the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) found their way to Australia during World War II and joined Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese. The Dutch East Indies government operated from Australia during the war. Free Dutch Submarines operated out of Fremantle after the invasion of Java. The joint No. 18 and No. 120 RAAF squadrons formed at Canberra, and was a combined Dutch and Australian Squadron. It used B-25 Mitchell bombers, supplied by the Dutch Government before the war. The Netherlands East Indies Forces Intelligence Service (NEFIS) was based in Melbourne during the war.” Source: Wikipedia.
The Dutch in Australia Today
The Department of Home Affairs reports that “The latest Census in 2016 recorded 70,172 Netherlands-born people in Australia, a decrease of 7.7 per cent from the 2011 Census.
“The 2016 distribution by State and Territory showed Victoria had the largest number with 19,813 followed by New South Wales (16,900), Queensland (14,067) and Western Australia (9,133).” Source: Australian Department of Home Affairs.
The Department of Home Affairs also notes that “In the 2016 Census, Australians reported over 300 different ancestries. Of the total ancestry responses 339,549 responses were towards Dutch ancestry.”
Source: The Australian Department of Home Affairs.
The Dutch In Victoria
The Dutch have a long history in the state of Victoria. Museums Victoria reports that:
“In the early 19th century a few Netherlands-born convicts were transported to Australia. A small number of free settlers also immigrated, and the gold rushes drew increasing numbers to Victoria from the 1850s. By 1911, 186 Netherlands-born people lived in Victoria.
“The growth of the Dutch community in Victoria in the post-war period was dramatic. In 1947, 625 Netherlands-born people were recorded; by 1954, the number had increased to 15,996. Within five years the community had more than doubled to 36,284. These numbers included people from the former Dutch East Indies who emigrated after Indonesian independence in 1949.
“The economic situation in the Netherlands improved in the 1960s, and the number of emigrants began to decrease. Others chose to return to the Netherlands, and by 1981 the Netherlands-born population in Victoria had fallen to 30,707.
“In 2016, the Victorian population was 19,814, the largest number of Netherlands-born people of any state in Australia. 65% of the community was Christian; 66% spoke English at home, and 32% spoke Dutch. Nearly half of those employed worked in professional roles, while many others were employed in clerical, sales, service, production and transport-related roles.
“Today, the Dutch community is focussed in the outer metropolitan areas of Melbourne, including the Dandenongs, Frankston and Berwick. Dutch culture and community life is maintained through organisations including the Associated Netherlands Societies in Victoria. Springvale hosts the annual Holland Festival in February, the largest Dutch Festival in the southern hemisphere.” Source: Museums Victoria.
The Dutch in Melbourne Today
The Live in Melbourne website reveals Melbourne’s Dutch community today at a glance:
of Dutch migrants choose to live in Melbourne (approx)
Dutch people migrated from the Netherlands to Victoria since 2011
of Dutch migrants are families with no children and 20% are families with children (approx)
76% have Australian citizenship”
Source: Live in Melbourne.
Australian Visas for the Dutch
Australia has many visas appropriate for citizens of the Netherlands, but the following visas may be of the greatest interest. For more information about these and any other Australia visas, please contact Migration Ways.
Working Holiday Visa
One of the most important visas for young Dutch citizens is the Australian Working Holiday 417 visa. If you are between the ages of 18 and 31, you may be eligible to apply for this visa that allows you to live, travel, study and work in Australia for up to 3 years. Learn more about the 417 Working Holiday visa.
Citizens of the Netherlands might also consider the following Australian visas:
Most Dutch visitors, tourists and businesspeople can enter Australia on a Visitor visa. Learn more about this important visa.
Australia has multiple work visas for citizens of the Netherlands to consider.
Information About Australia
The following organizations or websites provide information for Dutch visitors to Australia.
Your Melbourne Multi-Cultural Immigration Specialists
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