Batavia’s Graveyard is being excavated at last #history

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It’s been a while since I wrote a Batavia post. It has also been a while since Beacon Island (Batavia’s Graveyard) has been vacated and the fishing shacks removed. With those impediments to a proper investigation out of the way, … Continued

Maybe now the ghosts will rest in peace

posted in: History | 1

I read today in a newspaper article that systematic excavation of Beacon Island in the Abrolhos group off the West Australian coast has begun with the discovery of a new grave. That might not mean much to many of you, … Continued

Is Pelsaert’s journal an accurate account of the Batavia shipwreck?

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Many ships have been wrecked over the centuries. Most of their names became nothing more than ciphers in the ocean of history. But the wreck of the Dutch East Indies merchantman Batavia on remote islands off the coast of Australia … Continued

A triumph for an amateur historian

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In 1963, the last resting place of the Dutch merchantman Batavia, which hit a reef on the Abrolhos islands off the coast of Western Australia in 1629, was finally found. 1963. It had taken three hundred and eighty-four years before … Continued

Kill or be killed

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In the few months in 1629 that the ship-wrecked Batavia’s survivors were trapped on the islands of the Houtman Abrolhos’s Wallabi group, Jeronimus Cornelisz’s band of cut throats murdered around one hundred people. There’s no way of knowing exact numbers. … Continued

Why approach from the North?

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I’m one of those people who believes that when you write about real historical events, it isn’t your place to change facts. For example, unless you’re writing alternative history, you can’t move the Battle of Waterloo from 1815 to 1820, … Continued

Australia’s first white inhabitants

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There is little doubt that Commandeur Pelsaert was much more lenient in his treatment of Cornelisz’s band of thugs than his masters in Batavia would have been. As mentioned in previous posts, Cornelisz and his major henchmen could count themselves … Continued

The mind of a psychopath

posted in: History, On writing | 6

Quite a number of psychopaths have made a name for themselves. Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin. Ted Bundy is another, more recent, example, as is Hannibal Lecter, featured in the movie The Silence of the Lambs. What about Jeronimus Cornelisz, erstwhile under … Continued

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