October 2021

Over the last 40 years the Dutch Australian Cultural Centre (DACC) have been collecting documents and information in relation to the rich Dutch history in Australia. They have now also established an online service, making it easier to access this treasure trove. There is increased interest in this information from 2nd and 3rd generation Australians with a Dutch heritage as well as from students and researchers interested in Dutch-Australian maritime, WWII and multicultural history. Access to this information is now made much easier.

Dutch history started with the explorers in the 17th century who mapped most of Australia (except the East Coast). Many maps can be accessed online, as well as documents and stories in relation to this history. As a hub the service also provides extensive links to organisations and databases elsewhere in Australia and the Netherlands.

During WWII the Netherlands East Indies Government-in-Exile was established and some 20,000 Dutch people fled to Australia. This led to a range of interesting consequences for Dutch Australian military collaboration as well as to the independence of Indonesia, the demise of the White Australia Policy of Australia and the coming of age of independent Australian foreign policy making, including its role in the formation of the UN and the world’s first peace keeping corps. Most of this history has largely remained hidden.

Throughout the 20th century ca 250.000 Dutch people migrated to Australia bringing with them Dutch culture, traditions, food and social structures. They established clubs, organised festivals and a range of other social events. Several leading football clubs in Australia have their origin in clubs established by the Dutch. Over time these migrants melted away in the broader Australian society and the DACC started to collect archives of Dutch clubs and other organisations, including newsletters, photos and Dutch artefacts.

SBS Radio Dutch has been pivotal in recoding stories from early migrants as well as other key people in the Dutch-Australian society. The DACC Hub has started to include video and audio-based material.

The service also provides information on shipping and aviation activities and the rich business connections that have been established over the last 100 years.

Political and military cooperation continues till this day, which leads to visits from Royals, ministers and cultural, social and business leaders. All of this is recorded and will continue to be recorded by the DACC and overtime more and more of that information will be made available in the DACC Hub – https://dacc.net.au/

Roland Spuy

President DACC

For more information contact the DACC on  DutchAustralianCC@gmail.com