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Maritime history on the map

WESTERN Australia’s maritime history will be honoured next year in a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first charting of the Australian mainland. The commemoration is being organised by the State Commemorative Committee of WA through its ‘Australia on the Map 1606-2006’ (AOTM) project, launched recently at the WA Maritime Museum. As part of the commemoration the events program includes a circumnavigation of Australia by the Duyfken Replica, estimated to cost about $1.6 million. In addition to the voyage, and dependent on funding, the WA Maritime Museum has offered to organise a travelling exhibition of historic and rare artefacts relating to early exploration. The committee estimates this would cost about $1 million. The SCC of WA is part of the larger Australia on the Map 1606-2006 National Steering Committee, which was established in mid 2002 and has already employed help from several prominent sources, including WA entrepreneur Kerry Stokes, who will display his own collection of maritime artefacts. The launch also coincided with a visit to Perth by the Netherlands Ambassador to Australia, Hans Sondaal, who attended to endorse the project. One of the project committee members is Peter Woods, a director of the Woodside Valley Foundation, which is concerned with the preservation of maritime exploration artefacts and which is chaired by professor Don Watts, former vice-chancellor of Curtin University and a supporter of the project. Mr Woods said he hoped the community would get behind the project as WA boasts a rich Dutch maritime exploration history, believed to have begun in 1616 with the first European landing in the state by Dirk Hartog. “WA and South Australia, with the most Dutch maritime history, really have the most to lose here,” he said. Mr Woods said while the Government was yet to indicate whether funding would be made available for the Duyfken 1606 Replica voyage, the SCC of WA was approaching potential corporate sponsors with the aim of achieving part funding of the circum-navigation or full funding of voyages along the WA coastline. The project will also be a beneficiary of outcomes from a current Curtin University study into 400 years of Dutch-Australian contact. That study is being coordinated by Nonja Peters, a director of the Migration, Ethnicity, Refugees & Citizenship Research Institute at Curtin, who said the study would help build bilateral relationships between Australia and the Netherlands. New guide for employee volunteering A NEW guide to employee volunteering programs has been launched by the State Government as part of National Volunteer Week. Entitled ‘Employee Volunteering and Corporate Social Responsibility: A Guide to Employee Volunteering Programs’, the 48-page booklet has been produced by the State Government’s volunteering secretariat and is designed to promote corporate social responsibility by encouraging employers to donate their employees’ time towards volunteering activities. According to the secretariat, employee-volunteering programs are becoming increasingly popular in the private and public sector with one third of the state’s population volunteering each year. The guide will be available from the Office for Seniors Interests and Volunteering, which can be reached on 9220 1111, and online at http://community.wa.gov.au/communities/volunteers

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