Batavia 

On the morning of the fourth of June 1629, (13 years later) the VOC ship Batavia was wrecked on the Houtman Abrolhos, off the coast of Western Australia. The shipwreck was a prelude to an extraordinary tragedy.

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This was followed by a mutiny in which 125 people were slaughtered by a religious fanatic, Jeronimus Corneliszoon. It portrayed a tragic story which was the beginning of European settlement of Australia, for 2 young mutineers, Wouter Loos and Jan Pelgrom, were put ashore and left to fend for themselves. It is believed that they mixed in with the natives -  200 years before the Swan River Colony was established. 

With extraordinary bad luck, it took 63 days to find the wreck site, almost double the time it took the party to get to Batavia.

Commander Francisco Pelsaert, all the senior officers, some crew and passengers, 48 in all,deserted 268 people, on the wreck and on two waterless islands, whilst theywent in search of water. Abandoning the search on the mainland coast, they made their way to Batavia (modern Jakarta), to obtain help.

When the Sardam finally returned to Batavia, some of the lesser offenders, who had been flogged, keelhauled and dropped from the yard arm as punishment on the voyage, were executed. Out of 316 people aboard the Batavia, only 116 survived. Pelsaert died in the following year. For the VOC it was a political and financial disaster. In the years that followed the events were not forgotten, a book was published entitled Ongeluckige Voyagie van’t schip Batavia and it was through this and Pelsaert’s Journal that the wreck was finally rediscovered.

                          Webmaster T.J. Vanderveldt ©   Email: tjv@iinet.net.au