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Musket plate recovered from Gun Island, WA

Date: before 1727
Dimensions:
Overall: 31 x 97 mm, 0.012 kg
Medium: Copper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transferred from Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks
Classification:Armament
Object Name: Musket Plate
Object No: 00016338
Place Manufactured:Nederland

User Terms

    Description
    This musket plate was excavated from Gun Island, off the Western Australian coast, where survivors of the wrecked vessel ZEEWIJK were marooned for almost one year during the 1720s. It is engraved with the words 'Kamer Zeeland', the mark of the Dutch company which operated the vessel.
    SignificanceThis musket plate represents the ZEEWIJK wreck and early European presence near the Australian continent.
    HistoryMusket plates are just part of the several metal fittings (gun furniture) found on firearms from the 17th and 18th centuries.

    This remnant was excavated on Gun Island, off the Western Australian coast. It is engraved with the words 'Kamer Zeeland', which was a chamber of the Dutch East India Company. It operated the ZEEWIJK, a vessel that was wrecked off Gun Island in 1727.

    The ZEEWIJK was constructed in 1725. In 1726 the ship, with a crew of 212 commanded by Jan Steyns, departed for Batavia (present day Jakarta), with a cargo consisting of coins and general items. On June 9th 1727, the ZEEWIJK struck the reef skirting the western side of the Pelsaert Group of Houtman Abrolhos islands. The vessel did not break up immediately, but due to rough weather, the longboat could not be launched for over a week. The crew was eventually able to transport the 3 tons of coins to a camp they established on Gun Island, while the longboat set sail for Batavia to obtain help. The 11 men in the boat were not heard of again.

    In March 1728, having constructed a small vessel from salvaged material that they named SLOEPIE (little sloop), the survivors left the island for Batavia. The boat was fitted with weapons salvaged from ZEEWIJK to protect the chests of coins they took with them. 82 men arrived safely.

    The wreck was initially discovered in 1840 by HMS BEAGLE on its third survey voyage, but was re-discovered in 1968 and is currently protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: MUSKET PLATE, PROBABLY MADE IN THE NETHERLANDS

    Web title: Musket plate recovered from Gun Island, WA

    Collection title: ANCODS (Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks) collection

    Related Sites Pelsaert Group - Gun Island

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