150 Years before cook
In July 1619 aboard the Dordrecht, Commander Frederick de Houtman of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) with VOC Councillor of the Indies Jacob Dedel aboard the Amsterdam came across the coast line of Southwest Western Australia and the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.
The catch-cry ‘Balayi-Open Your Eyes” acknowledges that even though Houtman and Dedel saw no signs of people ashore, it was a long-occupied land.
Open your eyes to two cultures
Much like the bold, brave men who came across these strange lands, adventurous souls will again voyage to Rockingham and Geraldton.
Open your eyes to two cultures, two different perspectives, a Dutch discovery viewed from the ocean, a First Nations people view from the land. A shared night sky.
Frederick de Houtman's remarkable story is woven throughout the Festival and the Houtman Abrolhos Islands’ wealth of stories, unique ecology and beauty is celebrated in an exciting series of experiences.
27 Shades of Black Opening Night
Get lost and found at an extravagant opening celebration and be the first to be immersed in the Balayi -Opens Your Eyes! Houtman 400 exhibition.
Illuminating the Night
The Houtman Abrolhos Islands’ wealth of stories, unique ecology and beauty can be experienced through beautiful night time projections and Yamaji shared night sky works will tell their own story.
Discover Yamaji culture and be transported by the talent of Yamaji performers and artists.
Be part of making History
Our time is now and only we can experience this 400 year anniversary together, it only happens once. Come and be part of the celebrations and don't regret not being there.
Connect through creating sea monsters that represented the fear of the unknown yet can take you to the depths of human kindness.
This significant historical event will leave a watermark as a giant sea serpent comes alive!
A travelling exhibition sets out on a voyage to share our history across Australia and to the Netherlands.
The Balayi-Open Your Eyes! Houtman 400 Festival was created by the Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association Inc building partnerships and support from Yamaji Arts, Museum of WA, the City of Greater Geraldton and the Embassy for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and many more.
The Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association Inc. celebrates the unique maritime heritage of the Batavia coast of Western Australia from past to present. We create exhibitions, events, installations and experiences which engage our community and visitors in the rich maritime history of our region.
Cultural and community partners
- Rockingham Museum