The Joy of Museums

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Dutch Galliot ‘t Weseltje

WA Maritime Museum - Joy of Museums - Ship Model -The Dutch Galliot ‘t Weseltje

This is a ship model  of the Dutch Galliot ‘t Weseltje. The original was built by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and was part of Willem de Vlamingh’s expedition to explore and survey the dangerous coasts of Western Australia in 1696 .

The ‘t Weseltje was the smallest ship in the fleet with a shallow draft which would prove very useful for exploring close to the coast and was one of the first European ships to explore the Swan River and at Shark Bay. During this historic voyage de Vlamingh recovered Hartog’s plate and left one of his own for posterity. know known as the de Vlamingh Plate.

Vlamingh ships at the Swan River, Keulen 1796

Black swans at the entrance to the Swan River with the ’t Weseltje and Geelvinck at anchor ( 1696 original). 

The black swan theory is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, and is often inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild. The ’t Weseltje would have been the first European ship to have sighted a black swan.

Essential Facts on the original ship:

  • Title:                 The Dutch Galliot ‘t Weseltje
  • Built:                1695
  • Crew:                Accommodation for 14
  • Dimensions:   L: 18.85m; W: 4.66m; Draught 2.49m
  • Scale Model:   1:10
  • Museum:         WA Maritime Museum


“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
William James



Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Johannes van Keulen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons