Bullion Salvaged from the Batavia Shipwreck, Western Australia
Photograph - Photography
Taken at the West Australian Museum in Geraldton, Western Australia.
"On the morning of 4 June 1629, the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie ship Batavia was wrecked on Morning Reef in the Houtman Abrolhos, off the coast of Western Australia. The shipwreck was a prelude to an extraordinary tragedy. 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 they went in search of water. Abandoning the search on the mainland coast, they made their way to Batavia (modern Jakarta), to obtain help; the journey took 33 days. On arrival, the high boatswain was executed, on Pelsaert's indictment, for outrageous behaviour before the loss of the ship. Skipper Adrien Jacobsz was arrested for negligence. The Governor General dispatched Pelsaert in the jacht Sardam to rescue the survivors. 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. At the Abrolhos, Pelsaert discovered that mutiny had taken place. A small group of mutineers had massacred 125 men, women and children. Pelsaert arrested the mutineers and executed some of them."