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Olivetti trumps Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook was swiftly demoted to second rank in my eyes when I discovered a long-lost love, Olivetti, at the Agnes Water Museum.

Despite Captain Cook’s notable achievements in charting Newfoundland and leading discovery expeditions to Australia, New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands, I could only think of Olivetti.

My heart skipped a beat as we met for the first time since my high school days when we spent endless hours blissfully crafting words together.

Many years have passed since then yet I remember reciting “a-s-d-f-;-l-k-j” as if it were yesterday. I fondly recall Olivetti patiently forgiving my mishaps and supporting my goals.   

Blinded by a horizontal cardboard bib that made it possible to bond with Olivetti only through touch, we forged a friendship that started a life-long love affair with words.    

The memories came flooding back as I spotted Olivetti sitting on a timber bench at the Agnes Water Museum. It was as though we’d never parted.  In some ways, we haven’t.

Only now do I realise the influence Olivetti has had on my life.  Every day, in some way, I continue to use the skill I learnt with Olivetti so many years ago.

While Olivetti’s family has undergone major changes and computers, tables and smart phones have replaced the old typewriters, my touch typing skill has thrived. Thank you, Olivetti.

Olivetti typewriters and so much more

Aside from the typewriters that piqued my interest, there are many more displays at the Agnes Water Museum to interest people of all ages.

There are informative displays on Captain James Cook’s voyages as well as the origins of the names of Seventeen Seventy and Agnes Water and other towns that make up the Discovery Coast.

Forming other displays are specimens collected by Joseph Banks and his party on the Endeavour voyage, maritime information of the shire’s coastline and ship wrecks, history on the Bustard Heard Lighthouse and Aboriginal artefacts. Collections also include shells, minerals, fossils, prams and bottles.

The museum is located at 69 Springs Road, Agnes Water Queensland 4677, adjacent to the Library, Visitor Information Centre and Community Centre complex.

For 10 things to do in Agnes Water and Town of 1770 visit my blog post on 10 things to do. Visit the website for more information.  

Olivetti

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Hartog’s pewter plate marks Australia’s first European landing

TOMORROW (January 23) marks 400 years to the day since Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog left the Netherlands on his epic journey during which he famously stumbled on the island, now known as Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Shark Bay in Western Australia on 25 October 1616.

Long before Captain James Cook landed on the east coast of Australia in 1770, Hartog had left a pewter plate as a mark of his discovery in Western Australia.

Hartog’s journey would see him play a major part in the world’s cartography as the first recorded European to leave evidence of contact with Australian soil.

As a by-product of spice and commodity trade in the Indonesian islands lying above Australia, a chief cartographer was put in place by Dutch East Indian Trading to have a secret atlas of maps which included Australia or “New Holland” as it was known for 150 years.

Although Australia wasn’t seen as a trading opportunity, the Dutch mapped two-thirds of the mysterious continent known as “Terra Australis Incognita”, later renamed Australia by the British.

Today the area is known as the Shark Bay World Heritage Area – a wonderland of world-class natural marine and land-based attractions married with a rich indigenous culture.

Land forms include the 100km Shell Beach, the extraordinary Stromatolites (found only in three places globally) and the Zuytdorp Cliffs stretching from Kalbarri to Shark Bay.

Marine encounters include the Monkey Mia dolphins, the second largest population of dugongs in the world, migrating humpback whale, rare loggerhead turtles and the occasional whale shark.

Dirk Hartog Island is Western Australia’s largest island and offers a peaceful retreat of beautiful scenery, ideal for four-wheel driving with its white sandy beaches perfect for snorkelling or fishing.

The Island has significant biodiversity conservation values with more than 250 native plant species, 81 species of birds and 27 species of reptiles, many of which were on the brink of extinction.

It is also a major nesting area for loggerhead turtles with about 400 breeding annually with hatchlings expected in March.

To celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the landing on the island, a four-day festival – the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616, will held in Shark Bay from Friday October 21 to Tuesday October 25, 2016.

The 1606 replica Dutch ship, the Duyfken, will depart Western Australia’s Fremantle Harbour on August 28, 2016 and visit the Coral Coast towns of Jurien Bay, Dongara and Geraldton along the way to Denham, and will be available for public tours at each port of call.

Additionally, history and sailing enthusiasts can cruise to the festivities on board the tall-ship Leeuwin II departing Fremantle on Friday 14 October, arriving in Shark Bay Friday October 21, 2016.

For more information on the event series, travel planning or history of Dirk Hartog Island, visit Australia’s Coral Coast.

 

PHOTO: Dolphins surfing Urchin Point at Dirk Hartog Island, by Chris Woods photography. Courtesy of Australia’s Coral Coast.

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