She crested the horizon with sails furled and flags snapping brisk and bright in her rigging, a vessel from another time, beating against a headwind as she sailed into Fremantle Harbour with a flotilla of yachts and jetskis crowding her wake.
After six years away, the Duyfken returned to Fremantle yesterday, where she was built and launched in 1999.
But under a new State Government plan the stately tall ship - a replica of the 16th-century Dutch merchantman that discovered and charted the north-west coast of Australia in 1606 - will not stay moored in Fremantle for all of its 10-year tenure back in WA.
From next year, the Government hopes to have the Duyfken moor at the Barrack Street jetty for up to three months a year.
Premier Colin Barnett said he expected it would prove a big tourist attraction for the Elizabeth Quay redevelopment.
"It will be a great tourist attraction and a brilliant piece of living history for WA schoolchildren," Mr Barnett said.
Hundreds of curious onlookers thronged Victoria Quay for the ship's arrival. Cara McCoy, 6, looked on in excitement as the tall ship swept past Victoria Quay, waving to the crew lined up against the starboard rail.
"I see it," she said. "Looks like a pirate ship."
Crew member Scott McKenzie, 35, said the five-month trip from Cairns to Fremantle across the top of Australia had been hairy at times but the Little Dove had prevailed.
"These were the ships that discovered the world," he said.
The ship, which will be berthed behind Little Creatures brewery in Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, will be open to the public for tours.