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Wreck of the BATAVIA

The Houtman Abrolhos, made up of three island groups, has been the site of many shipwrecks. The BATAVIA wrecked on Morning Reef, near Beacon Island on 4th June, 1629. It was unable to be re-floated and started breaking up. Its survivors were transported on to two small nearby islands, later named 'Batavia's Graveyard' and 'Traitors Island'.

Forgotten for more than 300 years, the rediscovery of the wreck of the BATAVIA caused a sensation when found by skin divers in 1963. Recognizing the historical significance of the discovery, the Western Australian government enacted legislation to protect the wreck site from unauthorized access in 1964. During excavation of the wreck in the 1970s by archaeologists from the Western Australian Museum, a vast array of artefacts was recovered. A large part of the BATAVIA's hull was also raised and is now displayed in Fremantle.

A full-scale replica of the BATAVIA has been built in the Netherlands at Lelystad. It was transported to Sydney as part of the 2000 Sydney Olympic celebrations and displayed at the Australian National Maritime Museum. In 1647 the account of Francois Pelsaert (the BATAVIA's captain) was published describing the story of the loss of the BATAVIA under the title: Ongelukkige Voyagie van 't Schip Batavia Nae de Oost-Indien (Disastrous Voyage of the Vessel Batavia to the East Indies).

An English translation of the account can be found here: