There have been some 14 known ships wrecked off the Shire of Gingin coastline, including the famous Dutch East India Company ship, the 'Vergulde Draeck' (the 'Gilt Dragon') which went down off the coast between Ledge Point and Seabird in 1656.
Below is a diagram mapping those ships wrecked off the Gingin Shire coastline:
|1 ~ Vergulde Draeck, 1656
||8 ~ Grace Darling, 1914
|2 ~ Emily, 1868
||9 ~ SS Venus, 1923
|3 ~ Seabird, 1874
||10 ~ Seaflower, 1923
|4 ~ Oleander, 1884
||11 ~ Manakoora, 1946
|5 ~ Villalta, 1896
||12 ~ Linda, 1950s
|6 ~ Ville de Rouen, 1901
||13 ~ JP Webb, 1951
|7 ~ Hugh Norman, 1910
||14 ~ Key Biscayne, 1983
The Western Australian Museum's pamphlet, the Shipwrecks of the Silver Coast contains additional information about these shipwrecks.
The Vergulde Draeck or Gilt Dragon was a 42-metre, 260-tonne 'jacht' constructed in 1653 by the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch East India Company or Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC). It is one of Australia's most famous shipwrecks and a crucial event in Australia's early history.
In 1656, the Vergulde Draeck set sail from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, for the VOC's trading headquarters at Batavia (Jakarta), Indonesia.
On the night of 28 April 1656, the Vergulde Draeck struck a submerged coral reef midway between what are now the coastal towns of Seabird and Ledge Point. On board were 193 crew, eight chests of silver coins worth 78,600 guilders of the world's most important trade coins at that time - Spanish silver (pieces of eight, pieces of four, and pieces of two) - and trade goods to the value of 106,400 guilders.
Of the 193 crew, 118 are believed to have perished. The initial 75 survivors, including the ship's captain, Pieter Albertszoon, and the Under Steersman, made it to shore. They had with them the ship's boat, a schuyt, along with a small amount of provisions and stores washed on shore.
On 7 April 1656, approximately nine days after the loss of the Vergulde Draeck, the Under Steersman and six crew members were dispatched to Batavia to summon help. After a journey of some 1,400 nautical miles lasting 41 days, with little water, little food and suffering from exposure, the Under Steersman arrived at Batavia, the alarm was raised and the search for the survivors of the Vergulde Draeck and cargo began. (Source: www.giltdragon.com.au/index.php/gilt-dragon-history/)
For further information on this extraordinary part of our history please see links below: