Batavia Shipwreck Ruins

Batavia Shipwreck Ruins
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Stone ruins on Western Australia’s remote West Wallabi Island are the oldest structures built by Europeans in Australia and tell a tale of mutiny and murder.

Built as a fort in 1629 by survivors of the shipwrecked Dutch merchant ship Batavia, the National Heritage-listed shipwreck site provides a lasting memorial to the treachery of under-merchant Jeronimus Cornelisz, who had conspired to mutiny and steal the treasure-laden ship before it struck a reef.

The mutineers murdered more than 120 shipwreck survivors before most were captured, tried and hanged for their crimes. The wreck convinced the Dutch East India Company to make accurate charts of the coastline, putting Australia on the world map.

The Batavia was found in 1963 and is now on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum.

Did you know:

  • The oldest human habitation ever built by Europeans on Australian territory was by survivors of the Batavia shipwreck in 1629.
  • Before being hanged for his role in the Batavia mutiny and the slaughter of many passengers, Jeronimus Cornelisz was tortured, forced to sign a confession, then had his hands chopped off.

Australia's Heritage: National Treasures with Chris Taylor is also available for purchase from the NFSA Online Shop.