In Carpet of Silver: The Wreck of the Zuytdorp, Phillip Playford, one of the wreck’s discoverers, gives an engrossing account of an incredible true story: a personal adventure, a fabulous treasure, and some extraordinary incompetence— fact definitely more exciting than fiction.
The Zuytdorp, one of the great ships of the Dutch East India Company, disappeared without a trace after leaving Cape Town in 1712, en route to Batavia (Jakarta). The ship was carrying a rich cargo including some 250,000 guilders in silver coins. It was nearly two and a half centuries before the mystery of its fate was finally solved.
Yet, two intriguing mysteries remain: what became of the survivors of the wreck— did they perhaps join the Aborigines, becoming Australia’s first European inhabitants? And where is the three tonnes of treasure the ship carried, the fabled ‘carpet of silver’?
Won – 1997 Western Australian Premier’s Book Award (History)
This is a ‘must’ for all interested in the history of European contact with Australia—and for all who can’t resist stories of shipwrecks and treasure trove.— John Vile, The Mercury