Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Databases of the people aboard the VOC ships Batavia (1629) & Zeewijk (1727)

Author/s Ariese, C.

Year of publication 2012

Report Number: 298

The reefs surrounding the Houtman Abrolhos in Western Australia were a notorious hazard to shipping in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) made sure to mark this island group on its maps and skippers had strict instructions to avoid coming into contact with these reefs. Even so, the VOC is known to have lost two ships here, Batavia and Zeewijk. Some of the castaways from both of these shipwrecks, although faced by many difficult challenges, managed to reach Batavia, the headquarters of the VOC in the Indies. Their journals and stories have survived in archives. Those who died or were murdered in the Houtman Abrolhos may have left their mark in other ways. Western Australia now possibly possesses a large number of Dutch human remains from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This paper is presented in two sections; the first concerns Batavia and the second focuses on Zeewijk. Each of these sections can be read independently.