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Dutch navigator Willem Jansz or Janssen (c. 1570 - c. 1629) became, in 1606, the first European known to have made a landing on the Australian coast. Little is known of his life before his voyage from The Netherlands with a convoy of Dutch East India Company ships in 1603. Two years later he sailed from a Dutch base in Indonesia along the south coast of New Guinea before turning south into the Gulf of Carpentaria. He first saw the Australian coast somewhere near the present site of Weipa and then charted the next 320km under the impression that this was still part of New Guinea. On a journey ashore his men were attacked by Aborigines and one of his crew was killed.

For the next 23 years Jansz served in various capacities in the East Indies and eventually attained the rank of admiral. He returned only once more to the Australian coast when, by accident, he landed somewhere near North West Cape, Western Australia, in 1618. In 1623 he was appointed Governor of Banda, and returned to Holland in 1629.

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