In 1629, Beacon Island, off the coast of Western Australia, was the primary site of the historic Batavia shipwreck and the murderous mutiny that followed. Now the Government say it is being returned to a natural condition inline with its national heritage significance.
The Department of Fisheries has awarded a contract for demolition of built infrastructure on Beacon Island to Geraldton Building Services and Cabinets.
Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said the work was part of a $3.5million joint initiative between the Western Australian Museum and the Department of Fisheries to enhance the protection of the sites associated with the Batavia story.
“Ongoing habitation of this very important heritage site by commercial fishers is no longer appropriate and the State Government has helped them relocate their operations,” Mr Baston said.
“The project will return Beacon Island to a state of wilderness, much like it was when the Batavia survivors landed there nearly 400 years ago.”
The Minister said a draft visitor plan had been prepared for public access to the site and to allow visitors an interpretive experience into the incredible story of those involved in the Batavia wreck.
“In addition, the removal of the buildings will enable archaeological researchers to complete ground radar sensing work that hasnt been able to occur due to the current infrastructure,” he said.
“This will add to our knowledge of the historical events and improve our understanding of what happened to the Batavia survivors.”
Demolition works, overseen by Geraldton’s Eastman Poletti Sherwood Architects, begin today and are scheduled for completion in August. Beacon Island is closed to the public while demolition work is undertaken.
The Abrolhos Islands are managed by the Department of Fisheries as an A-Class Reserve for the conservation of flora and fauna, as well as for purposes associated with the fishing and aquaculture industries and tourism.