Kalbarri coastline – Did you know?
A mystery solved
In 1927 a stockman discovered a strange carved wooden structure on a cliff 65 km north of Kalbarri. Not until 30 years later was this structure identified as part of the stern from the Zuytdorp, a Dutch sailing ship which was known to have been wrecked somewhere along this coast in 1712. A search was made, but no human remains were found – although other evidence indicated that the shipwrecked crew had survived here for several years.
Only recently was this mystery solved. A doctor working amongst local Aborigine children noticed that some of them were suffering from an unusual inherited disorder resulting in defective development of the skin, hair and nails. He finally identified this as Ellis van Creveld Syndrome, a rare genetically inherited disease which had been prevalent in Holland around 300 years ago. The shipwrecked Dutch sailors had seemingly joined up with the local Aborigines, vanishing without trace apart from this curious genetic legacy.