Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Report on overseas work and study programme New Batavia Project, Lelystad, the Netherlands 11 June –8 July 1990

Author/s G. Kimpton

Year of publication 1990

Report Number: 40

I am involved in the finalization of the Batavia reconstruction here in Fremantle. Part of this work will be to produce a design for the layout of the interior hull structure and associated structural work in order to make the reconstruction more understandable for the public; to liaise with display department on the arrangement of the reconstruction as part of the over all design of the Batavia Gallery display and; the recording and documentation of the completed hull structure. The aim of my visit to the Stichting Nederland Bouwt VOC Retourschip Batavia, Lelystad, Netherlands from 14 June 1990 - 4 July 1990 was to work in conjunction with Willem de Vos, shipwright and Robert Parthesius, archaeologist of the New Batavia Construction in order to get a first-hand impression of the whole ship as it is being constructed and before it is finished. I also wished to take measurements of the stem section of the replica so that we have information available to assist in the final stages of the Batavia reconstruction.

The three main projects during this study programme were as follows:

i. Accurate measurement of the stem section of the Batavia replica in the areas associated with our reconstruction, to enable the shape of the hull to be projected into areas that are missing on our reconstruction. This would enable me to produce a light framework to show the complete shape of the hull. At the same time I would be able to liaise with the technical staff at Lelystad to compare the structures (see iii below).

ii. To study the rigging, equipping and loading of the ship. I wished to make records of the standing rigging of the ship, for possible inclusion on the reconstruction, or as an associated display. Additionally, I wished to avail myself of new information available at Lelystad on the mounting of guns as they are building gun carriages for the project. I have already built a number of carriages including one for the Batavia. It was extremely useful, therefore, for me to gain some additional experience in this area as we have a large number of guns from the Batavia, Vergulde Draeck, Zuytdorp and Zeewijk which will require carriages in the future. Also I wanted to examine the hold arrangements on the replica, with the objective of preparing a plan for the way we can best display this area in our reconstruction. The details of these sorts of things would then be available for possible mock ups of gundecks, galley area, captain's cabin, powder room, etc.

iii. To work in conjunction with Robert Parthesius and Jeremy Green to produce the archaeological documentation of the hull structure. This will involve taking detailed measurements of the reconstruction and the replica, with the objective of comparing, in detail, the differences and similarities of the two. I have intimate knowledge of the reconstruction, and I would expect to work ill conjunction with Robert Parthesius on the documentation of the replica. It is intended to produce a detailed report of the structures for publication.