The initiative for what became the project was taken by Peter Reynders. He had published a proposal for a 2006 commemoration in a WA maritime history newsletter from the VOC Historical Society suggesting to start preparations for the commemoration of the arrival of the first European ship in Australia. Peter teamed up with the late Rupert Gerritsen to ultimately create an organisation (‘Australia on the Map 1606-2006’ – AOTM) to make it happen.  

Its organisation comprised a national Steering Committee, and a state committee in every state and territory (Northern Territory dropped out because the Duyfken replica would not go to Darwin).

They both Rupert received a ‘ lintje’ (Royal Award) from the Dutch head of state in 2007 as the AOTM project had been a great success, involving both the Dutch and the Australian governments.

The history of the charting of the continent is a rather huge and specialist piece of history, which is covered in massive bodies of literature. Look for example at some of the articles in Map Matters on that AOTM website.

The project has been continued through the website: Australia on the Map

See also:

Historic Maps of the explorers

Historic Australian Maps

Dutch Explorers in the Gulf of Carpentaria

Dutch Royal vist to Australia 2006