View Full Version : Dutch East Indies Company?
07-14-2009, 04:15 AM
I was wondering if anyone knows of any HF which deals with the activities of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) with particular emphasis on the exploraton of the west coast of Australia. There were a number of shipwrecks and mutinies and landings, so there could be quite a few interesting stories to read.
07-14-2009, 04:57 AM
Some years ago I became fascinated with the 1629 wreck of the Dutch East Indiaman "Batavia" on the Abrolhos Islands some 40 miles off the coast of Western Australia after reading Mike Dash's non-fiction book "Batavia's Graveyard" , a story of shipwreck, psychopaths, mutiny and murder which makes "Lord of the Flies" look like a kids' picnic, and have since found a couple of novels dealing with the subject
Henrietta Drake-Brockman (http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A140709b.htm)'s "The Wicked and the Fair" (1959)
"The Company" (http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/australian/thecompany.html)
The activities of the VOC itself are part of these stories, but "Batavia's Graveyard (http://www.amazon.com/Batavias-Graveyard-Heretic-Historys-Bloodiest/dp/0609607669)" is highly recommended if you want to learn the details of a spice company every bit as ruthless as any Colombian cocaine cartel!
The story of the "Batavia" wreck here:
07-14-2009, 05:08 AM
The story of the Batavia is pretty much why I am asking the question. There is a part of the Maritime Museum in Fremantle which is called Shipwreck Galleries, and they have a whole section which looks at several of the VOC ships which sank off the coast of Western Australia, including the Batavia. There is actually a small part of the stern of The Batavia that has been preserved and is displayed in the museum (small being relative to the size of the actual ship not the size of the piece). When I get home I will try to download the photos from my camera.
Part of the reason why I wanted to go there is that I remember going to what is now the Shipwreck Galleries (it was then the Maritime museum) when I was a very young primary school student.
07-14-2009, 05:56 AM
I left out another "Batavia" novel- Kathryn Heyman's "The Accomplice" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Accomplice-Kathryn-Heyman/dp/075530215X)
When I came across this story I couldn't believe that I'd never heard of it before- I guess it is much better known in Australia.
07-14-2009, 06:20 AM
I would further narrow that down and say that it is probably better known in Western Australia. I doubt it is particularly well known in most other states.
07-14-2009, 06:24 AM
Maybe not. I just asked my colleagues and they were vaguely familiar with the story, and one of my co workers said that it was mentioned in The Persimmon Tree by Bryce Courtney (which I have read, but is more about WWII in what was then Batavia (now Jakarta)) and the exploration of the shipwreck is apparently one of the main features in the book Flood Tide by Judy Nunn.
07-14-2009, 11:13 AM
I recall that Michener's The Covenant deals extensively with the Company and Batavia, but this novel is mainly about South Africa, not Australia.
07-14-2009, 12:36 PM
I would love to read HF about the Dutch EIC. They have a very small role in John Masters Coromandel.
07-15-2009, 08:00 AM
Here's another VOC adventure written by an Australian author. It's not about the "Batavia" , but may have been inspired by that story.
"Dead Men's Dreaming (http://www.voc.iinet.net.au/dreaming.html)" by Peter Hancock
07-15-2009, 12:27 PM
Thanks Annis! I have requested The Company from the library.
Here's a photo of my son standing in front of the inside of the wreck of the Batavia at the Shipwreck Galleries.
07-16-2009, 06:52 PM
Cool photo - thanks, Lil.
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