Aboriginals seek Dutch DNA link - The West Australian
"Stolen Generation Aboriginal Len Ogilvie is one of a number of West Australians who has undergone DNA testing as part of a research project that has the potential to re-write Australian history.
Theories have abounded for years as to whether Dutch crew, whose ships came to grief on the treacherous reefs off WA, married or fraternised with WA Aboriginals, producing children of mixed ancestry.
Perth-based amateur historian Thomas Vanderveldt, president of the VOC Historical Society, has teamed up with Dutch scientist Dr Pieter Bol to test the genetic links between the ancestors of those who sailed on the United East Indies Company's ships and WA Aboriginals. The DNA of 80 West Australian Aboriginals has already been sent to a medical laboratory in the Netherlands for testing.
Mr Ogilvie, an elder of the Nanda people from the Murchison River area, said yesterday that his relatives had long suspected they might have Dutch ancestry.
"My mother she was as white as you and she had red hair … you don't see many red-headed Aboriginals around here," he said. The project hopes to settle speculation on whether Europeans were living in Australia long before the arrival of the British First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788.
Mr Ogilvie, 81, of Innaloo, said he would "feel good" if the research revealed he had Dutch ancestry.
Mr Vanderveldt said the biggest group of shipwreck survivors most likely to have made it ashore were the crew and soldiers aboard the Zuytdorp, which was lost without trace in 1712 and discovered more than 80 years later wrecked off Shark Bay.
He said early test results had confirmed there was Western European, not English, DNA in some WA Aboriginals. The next tests are critical as they should allow the researchers to pinpoint the date when that genetic link came about and whether it predated British settlement.
·For the full story tune into Sunday Night tomorrow on Channel 7 at 6.30pm."