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Dirk Hartog Island is a remote piece of wilderness most Australians have never heard of – and only a few have been there.

An accidental discoveryMore than four centuries ago, this island off Australia’s remote west coast was accidentally discovered by a wayward Dutch mariner.

In 1616, Dirk Hartog was on his way to the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, when he miscalculated a turn and made landfall in the natural harbour of what’s now called Turtle Bay, opposite a beach where 3,000 loggerhead turtles nest each year. His observation of Terra Australis Incognita – the unknown southern land – led world maps to be re-drawn. It wasn’t until more than 150 years later that Captain James Cook claimed Australia’s eastern side for Britain. (Credit: Fleur Bainger)

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Dirk Hartog Island Oceania Australia