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History of the Abrolhos

Episode: Our Amazing North
Broadcast: 23rd October 2015
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane

It’s hard to imagine that just 80km west of Geraldton there’s an archipelago of 122 islands that are a real island paradise experience, it’s home to the most southern coral reef in the Indian Ocean.

  • The Houtman Abrolhos group of islands have an amazing and at times macabre history, they are remarkably important as one of the world’s great bird breeding sites and offer a world class dive, fishing and snorkeling experience.
  • The Abrolhos islands were named by Dutch Commander Frederik de Houtman, who came across several low-lying, coral reef fringed islands in June 1619.
  • The word Abrolhos is of Portuguese origin, meaning “Keep your eyes open” making the Abrolhos Islands one of only two Australian places with a Portuguese name.
  • The history dates back to the Dufyken, probably being the first European ship to discover the area in 1604, after that many ships blown off course discovered the Abrolhos Islands, sadly a lot of them lie below the shallow warm waters.
  • There’s at leas 22 shipwrecks with the most famous being the Batavia.