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Dutch clay pipe from the wrecked VERGULDE DRAECK

Date: before 1656
Overall: 30 x 195 x 15 mm
Medium: Clay
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Transferred from Australian Netherlands Committee on Old Dutch Shipwrecks
Object Name: Pipe
Object No: 00016031
Place Manufactured:Nederland

User Terms

    This clay pipe was excavated from the VERGULDE DRAECK, a Dutch East India Company vessel wrecked off the Western Australian coast in 1656. This pipe has a long narrow stem decorated with a fleur-de-lis and diamond pattern, as well as a cogwheel pattern around the bowl. Standards set in the mid 17th century required manufacturers to mark pipes with a makers mark. This pipe features the makers mark 'RP'.

    Over 250 pipes of this type were found encased in a wooden box on the wreck site. Packed 'head to tail' and with no indication of use, they were probably trade goods.
    SignificanceThis object highlights the presence of the powerful Dutch East India Company in Australia, prior to British exploration. It illustrates the significant role Dutch merchants played in putting Australia - then referred to as New Holland - on the map. It also illustrates the extent of the Dutch pipe making industry, and the global export of clay pipes.
    HistoryDuring the 1600s the Dutch East India Company or Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) was a rapidly expanding merchant organisation. The VOC established a trade network throughout Asia by transporting rare spices, exotic textiles and seeking new markets. Asian goods - especially spices and Chinese ceramics - were highly sought after in Europe, allowing the VOC to establish a profitable enterprise between Europe and the East Indies. A number of Dutch ships are known to have wrecked on the west Australian coast, leaving evidence of their passing in the form of wreckage, coins, pottery and other material. Dutch maps at this time also began to show the coastline of Australia (New Holland).

    On 4 October 1655 the VERGULDE DRAECK set sail for Batavia from Texel as part of its second trading voyage between Holland and the East Indies. Under the command of Captain Pieter Albertszoon the ship carried a crew of 193 and a cargo of trade goods and silver coins worth 185,000 guilders. After a brief stop at the Cape of Good Hope the VERGULDE DRAECK followed the Brouwers route to the East Indies but struck a reef off the Western Australian coast on 28 April 1656. The ship broke up and 75 survivors were marooned on the mainland with only a few provisions and stores. Albertszoon dispatched Under Steersman Abraham Leeman and six other crew to get help, and after a 40 day voyage in the ship's boat they successfully reached Batavia. On hearing the news of the wreck, two Dutch ships were sent to search for survivors. The ships failed to find any survivors and returned to Batavia after five months. Two more expeditions were mounted in the following years however they encountered various difficulties and failed to turn up any of the missing crew. Eventually in 1658 the possibility of any future searches was ruled out by the VOC.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Pipe, excavated from the wreck site of the VERGULDE DRAECK

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

    Web title: Dutch clay pipe from the wrecked VERGULDE DRAECK

    Related People
    Maker: R P
    Related Sites Ledge Point

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