Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 23 January 2023

400 year anniversary of the European mapping of Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia

 Hi everyone, I hope you and yours are doing well.

A little bit of Western Australian history today.... the first European mapping of Cape Leeuwin on Western Australia's south west corner. You can see my previous post here -  Cape-leeuwin-meeting-of-oceans-western-australia

Nine kilometres south of Augusta, the Cape is located on the extreme south-west point of Western Australia, where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet.

A community day in Augusta and the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was held on Sunday 30 October 2022 to commemorate the 400 year anniversary of the mapping of Cape Leeuwin by Europeans. 

The first inhabitants, the Wardandi indigenous people, called it Doogalup.

Accidental landfalls on the Great South Land by Dutch trading vessels on their way to the East Indies started to occur along the coast around 1616, when they adopted new sailing directions east from the Cape of Good Hope. 

Taking advantage of the Roaring Forties trade winds, sailing time was halved. Ships sailed south from the Cape of Good Hope (S36º-S44º), and then 3865 nautical miles east before turning north. However, inaccuracies in measurement resulted in many ships making contact with the Western Australian coast. 

The Dutch navigators called the Cape, Leeuwin’s Land (Land van de Leeuwin), after the ship Leeuwin (The Lioness) which sighted the Cape in March 1622. Unfortunately the Leeuwin’s log books have been lost, so very little is known of the voyage, although letters revealed the Leeuwin was the first vessel to sail the continent’s most southerly latitudes.  

above is - Hessel Gerritsz, Map of the Land of the Eendracht (1627). Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

This part of the coastline first appeared on charts (Chart of the Land of Eendracht) in 1627 by Dutch cartographer, Hessel Gerritsz showing the coast between present-day Hamelin Bay and Point D’Entrecasteaux. (see the map above)

Subsequent maps showed other, sometimes accidental, discoveries along the coast between 1616 and 1628 – including Dirk Hartog’s discoveries in 1616.

In 1644 the western and northern coast of Australia was named New Holland by Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman, known for his discovery of Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) off the southern tip of eastern Australia.

English navigator Matthew Flinders acknowledged the Dutch name, Leeuwin’s Land, when he named Cape Leeuwin, on December 7, 1801 during his circumnavigation and mapping of Australia in the HMS Investigator between 1801 and 1803. Flinders landed in the bay to the east of Cape Leeuwin, today's Flinders Bay.

Aboriginal man Bungaree sailed with Flinders, using his knowledge of Aboriginal protocol to negotiate peaceful meetings with local Indigenous people.

Located on the tip of the Cape, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia and an important link in the chain of essential navigation aids around the Australian coast.

The official opening of the lighthouse was made by the Premier of Western Australia, Sir John Forrest, on December 10, 1896.


Although the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse was officially proposed in 1881, there were several delays including the need to excavate more than 1,000 cubic metres of earth when loose boulders instead of bedrock was encountered on the site.  Constructed from local tamala limestone quarried about 1.2 kilometres away at Quarry Bay, the tower is built on a 6.7 metre foundation, with 2 metre thick walls at the base and an elevation of 56 metres above Mean Tide Level. The light was automated in August 1992 and has a range of approximately 25 nautical miles.

Shallow rocks stretching 7 kilometres out from the Cape, diverging currents and massive swells claimed 22 ships before the lighthouse was built. Winds can reach 100-160 kilometres on the Cape. 

..... dramatic on a stormy day! 

Visitors can climb to the viewing area via 176 steps, but the fascinating tour and the expansive 360 degree views are worth the climb. It is a great place to spot Humpback and Southern Right whales May to September as well as fur seals and sea birds. The first image in this post, and the view of the cottages from above are from the top of the lighthouse. 


The October 2022 celebration was forced to move to the Augusta Centennial Hall by bad weather, but featured many activities including a Welcome to Country by Iszaac Webb, unveiling of a commemorative plaque by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Marion Derckx, and rollicking sea shanties by the Anchormen.

The Interpretive Centre and tours at the heritage listed lighthouse and keepers cottages precinct reveal its history and the lives of the numerous lighthouse keepers. The lighthouse has been undergoing a once in a century renovation and has now reopened. Check the website for opening hours – usually 9am to 4pm. Refreshments available at the Cafe.

You can also visit the nearby waterwheel (which you can see in the collage above), built in 1895 to supply water during construction of the lighthouse, and later to supply water to the lighthouse keepers’ cottages. Today the wheel is encrusted with calcified lime but it is a reminder of the past.

The Cape to Cape track traverses 135km from the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Can be done over a number of days in one attempt, or split over a few weekends, self guide or guided. Maps available from Visitor Information Centres.  I had always intended to do this walk, my son has done it a couple of times, but I am yet to attempt it in its entirety though we have done small sections of it. Cape to Cape - Boranup Forest loop

Where is it: Leeuwin Road, 9 kms south of Augusta, 316 kms south of Perth, Western Australia.  Latitude 340 22’ south, longitude 1150 08’ east.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this little bit of history of Western Australia and that you found it interesting reading. 

My article about the 400 year anniversary of the Euopean mapping of Cape Leeuwin was published in On The Road magazine - Summer 2022-23

I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I do really love lighthouses and always thought I would like to stay in a lighthouse cottage overnight one of these days. Do you have a favourite lighthouse? 

I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 
I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!
Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.


  1. The historic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is so beautiful and stands imposing. The white color outstands in the indigo blue. Top of a lighthouse is one of my favorite vantage points. History of the cape is also interesting.


  2. Really interesting history and a wonderful part of Western Australia. Thanks for sharing.

  3. ...I love lighthouses and you have some a lovely one. This beach bum misses the beach!

  4. I love seeing that old map and having the links to learn more. Thanks for sharing this. You are such a good writer and photographer!

  5. I believe that must be among the world's most beautiful lighthouses - positively gorgeous!
    Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2023/01/play-time.html

  6. Hello,
    I love the coastal views and the lighthouse. The photos are lovely, beautiful mosaics. Take care, have a wonderful week!

  7. Wonderful post and awesome photography ~ especially the lighthouses ~ Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  8. Wow, you are so lucky to visit such a pretty view. Love lighthouses. Thanks for sharing a visit to Australia with me.

  9. A beautiful lighthouse and interesting history. There is something about lighthouses that I find very alluring.

    1. I agree. I was thught I would love to stay in a lighthouse cottage overnight.

  10. Beautiful lighthouse and a place to visit. Thanks for the detailed post with its history.

  11. Wow, this was interesting. I love lighthouses as well.

  12. You like lighthouses? Nice pictures -greetings from the other side of the world - thank´s for visiting my blog.
    All the best

  13. Thank you so much for this post, Jill. I skim over the text many days ago and read now with enough time and great interest. I`m a fan of historical stories. Especially of Australia!

    Thank you being part of MOSAIC MONDAY.

  14. Just looking at a lighthouse is so mesmerizing. I have always been fasciated by them, but sadly have never climbed one to the top. Very nice post and photos.

  15. How fascinating, and what a beautiful area and incredible lighthouses!

  16. So interesting, Jill! I always learn something from your writings. I would so love to visit here "someday"


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.