Geraldton celebrates Batavia’s 50th

The Western Australian Museum – Geraldton has partnered with the Batavia Coast Maritime Heritage Association and Geraldton Regional Library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Batavia shipwreck over the WA Day long weekend.

The Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship, Batavia, became wrecked off the WA coast near Beacon Island during her maiden voyage on June 4, 1629, and became famous for the subsequent mutiny and massacre among its survivors.

As part of a broader program including visits to the wreck site in the Abrolhos Islands and sails on the replica longboat, the Museum will host two public lectures on Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, and a community consultation day on Sunday, June 2.

WA Museum – Geraldton regional manager Leigh O’Brien said WA Museum head of maritime archaeology, Jeremy Green, will share the findings of his team’s recent trip to the Batavia wreck and associated sites in a free lecture at 6pm, Friday, May 31.

“Jeremy has been involved in the excavation, interpretation and display of Batavia shipwreck artefacts since the early 1970s, most recently travelling to Beacon Island and the wreck site earlier this month,” Ms O’Brien said.

At 11am on Saturday, June 1, Batavia wrecksite co-discoverer Hugh Edwards will explain how the Batavia was discovered 334 years to the day after it was wrecked.

The Museum’s community consultation day on Sunday, June 2, will provide an opportunity for both the fishing and wider Mid West community to provide input into how tourism could be developed on the Wallabi group of Abrolhos Islands – key sites in the Batavia story.

“We are inviting everyone in the community to come down and have their say on what the islands mean to them, how they envision tourism being carried out in the area, and if there are areas they’d like to see better protected,” Ms O’Brien said.

Those wishing to take part in the community consultation are invited to visit the Museum between 11am and 4:30pm, as part of the weekend celebrations.

Entry to both Jeremy Green’s and Hugh Edwards’ lectures is by donation. Bookings are essential, please call 9921 5080.