Long lost ship search underway

Planning is under way to locate a Dutch ship which was long ago wrecked in Guichen Bay at Robe.

The Government of the Netherlands is one of the backers of an archaeological survey for the 1857 shipwreck in a storm of the Koning Willem 11 which claimed 16 lives.

The ship had days earlier disembarked 400 Chinese gold seekers who walked overland to the Victorian goldfields.

Other backers for the search are the National Maritime Museum, Silent World Foundation and the Robe branch of the National Trust.

A public meeting to discuss the search was recently held at the Robe Institute.

It is part of Robe folklore that timber fittings salvaged from the wreck of the Koning Willem 11 were used in buildings in the town such as the Caledonian Inn.

The one-time Robe Primary School bell is believed to have come from the shipwreck and is on loan to the National Museum of Australia.

The signal cannon on Flagstaff Hil in Royal Circus at Robe is reputed to have come from the Koning Willem 11.

As well as attempting to locate the wreck, the project team is looking to document any items which might be held in public or private ownership and provide advice on their conservation.

The 800-ton barque was one of the vessels of the shipping company P. Varkevisser and Sons.

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