On the 25th of October 1616, Captain Dirk Hartog arrived on the ‘Eendracht’ and announced his arrival by leaving an inscribed plate with his name and date of arrival at Cape Inscription.
In 1697, Flemish Captain William de Vlamingh landed at Cape Inscription and found Dirk Hartog’s plate. As the plate was badly weathered, Vlamingh copied the record onto another plate and added his own record.
In August 1699, Captain William Dampier anchored and surveyed the northern end of Dirk Hartog Island. In 1772, French Captain Alesne de St Allouran landed on the island and claimed it in the name of the French King.
As proof of his presence, he buried a parchment and two French coins nearby, which lay undiscovered until 1998.
Louis de Freycinet came to Shark Bay in 1818 and removed the plate from Cape Inscription. He returned to Europe, where it was presented to the French Academy in Paris. The Vlamingh plate then disappeared until 1940.