History of the DACC

The Centre was established in 1983 by the Federation of Dutch Associations and formed as a company limited by guarantee in 1984.

The Centre was formed to establish a central organization with the following two main aims:

  1. To preserve the rich history of Dutch contact with, and immigration to, Australia;
  2. To set up a resources facility for anyone wanting information regarding the Netherlands, its people and their traditions.

The DACC has been housed at the back of ’t Winkeltje, Holland House, 85 Market Street, Smithfield since 2006, following the request by the management of the Abel Tasman Village, Chester Hill to vacate the Annex originally built for the DACC. We were asked to leave as they needed the space and we were fortunate to have had the opportunity to move to Holland House in Smithfield through the generosity of Jan and Anita van Altena.

Undoubtedly, this proved to be a good move because we saw many more visitors there than in Chester Hill. Averaging about 20 visitors per week or 1000 per year, around 11,000 have had a look around there. Visitors to ’t Winkeltje do come from very far away in Australia. Even, after 11 years, every Sunday there are always several newcomers, people haven’t been there before or quite long ago. However, the space is limited and the DACC is actually growing and could grow still a lot more if space was available. The archives of several clubs have been maintained well and material is added to it regularly, thanks to Sr. Lia van Haren and Ms. Coby Black.

Apart from that the DACC has staged exhibitions elsewhere, like the “Echoes of the Past” in two venues and Dutch Maps of the 17th Century, also in two museum venues. The magnificent Mapping Australia exhibition was in the National Library, Canberra. About half of the old maps displayed there were of Dutch 17th century origin, the products of VOC cartographers and seafarers who circumnavigated the Australian continent and mapped most of it. The reality is that not even the grandparents of Cook were born by the time that the Groninger sea captain Abel Tasman had mapped some 70% of the Australian coastline in 1644.

Plans are in train for further possible exhibitions, about the Delta Project (2018) and the 100 year celebration of the KLM (2019). Smaller displays in the Centre have been initiated by President Paul Breedveld, such as of the painters Vermeer, van Gogh and others, KLM huisjes, several books by Dutch migrants, Dutch Embassy and AOTM publications about the Duyfken’s arrival in 1606, Hartog in 1616, and Dutch WWII refugees in Broome, 1942.

The history of the WWII itself is also reflected in the role of the Dutch as the “Fourth Ally” and in important tales of those who came as refugees in 1942 from the Dutch East Indies. And it is the story of several important individual contributions prior to WWII such as the Broken Hill Pty Ltd General Manager and pioneer Guillaume Delprat. Another example is the music shop operator Paling who started his business on the Victorian Gold Fields in the mid-1850s. The Dutch contribution to the history of this continent is both unique and significant.

The Reference Library has been well maintained and improved by Coby and Glen op de Brouw. Glen also services the Facebook page. We have a large number of posters of Dutch painters and also some from Karel Appel. We have a number of sjoelbakken (shuffle boards) and are considering to stage a tournament on a Sunday. New sjoelbakken can be bought from ’t Winkeltje. One can find a large number of typically Dutch memorabilia at Dutch heritage centre, some visitors have the feeling that they are back in the Netherlands for a short while when visiting DACC. The "piece de resistance" is of course the large maquette of a small historic section of Amsterdam around the Single canal produced professionally by the late carpenter Bram van Twist, a gift to the DACC.

In recent years several attempts have been made to find alternative accommodation for the DACC, e.g. as an extension of or addition to Neerlandia but this did not eventuate. The DACC has also been active in encouraging the establishment of a Migration Museum, such as exists in several other cities in Australia. Attempts in Sydney by the ALP were begun but have not been completed and were abandoned when they lost power in NSW. Only a website is still in existence. However, a possibility may now eventuate in North Parramatta. The DACC has registered its interest in such plans but the redevelopment of that area appears to be a seven year project.

The DACC was involved in the formation of Dutch Link, an organization set up by representatives of Dutch multinational companies to accommodate business and social interests of all people with a Dutch background, migrants and expatriates.

The current Board of DACC, of five members, is detailed on the Contact page. We would welcome more members or volunteers who could be available to assist as guides, on Sundays particularly.