The Batavia tragedy – 1. Historians say it was a savage, violent scene

GRAVEYARDS, ONE OF MANY THAT EXISTED ON THE TINY ISLAND, WHERE THE UNFORTUNATE CORPSES WERE BURIED.

HANG THEM, HANG THEM! THE BATAVIA TRAGEDY OFF WESTERN AUSTRALIA, WAS THE SCENE OF ONE OF THE BLOODIEST INCIDENTS IN OUR HISTORY. HANDS WERE CUT OFF, WOMEN RAPED THEN MURDERED.

ONE OF THE SAVAGE EXECUTIONS THAT TOOK THE PLACE ON THE ISLAND.

FRANCISCO PELSAERT AND ARAEN JACOBSZ WERE COMPLETE OPPOSITES. PELSAERT, A FINE BONED MAN; JACOBSZ, A BRAWLER.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

For thousands of years the small group of islands and reefs 80 kilometres off Geraldton, West Australia, had known only the cry of sea-birds and the grunting of seals.

Unadorned sods, swept by the wind, which had last known land as it passed over Africa, had savoured a sort of peace from this savage environment. But the coming of the European finished that within a few years of their discovery.

The Houtman Abrolhos were the scene of the one of the bloodiest incidents in Australia’s history; and one of the most savage mutinies and massacres on record.

It was here, just before dawn, on the morning of June 4, 1629, that the pride of the Dutch East India Company, Batavia, ran aground on-route from Holland to Batavia, now Jakarta. In the weeks that followed, many of the 301 passengers and crew drowned, died of starvation, or thirst.

But these wretched victims were fortunate in view of what was to follow.

Power, that word which carried bloodlust, was seized by a group of the survivors who embarked on an orgy of murder, rape and terror which has rarely been equalled. In the bloodlust which overcame them, at least 125 people, including children, were murdered..

More survived, only by fleeing to the other islands and fighting a desperate series of skirmishes to save their lives.
Total annihilation of all who opposed the mutineers was saved in the most dramatic fashion by the arrival of a rescue ship; and even then, the bloodletting did not cease. Justice to the mutineers was swift and savage.

THERE WERE MANY INVOLVED IN ROLES, EITHER FOR GOOD OR BAD. FURTHER RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THE BLAME LAY WITH THE SHIP’s UNDER-MERCHANT, DUTCHMAN JERONIMUNS CORNELISZ.

Torture, hangings and death as a result of the awful punishments meted out continued on the island. Those mutineers not dealt with at the scene of their crimes were taken to Batavia where punishment there was equally swift and severe.

But all the horror was to come.

When Batavia left Texel, Holland, on October 28, 1628, with two other vessels bound for Batavia, the port after which she was named. The Batavia was the newest and most magnificent ship of her time to sail for the Indies.

She was 140 ft long, a big ship by the standards of the day, 40 ft in beam, and 40 ft from deck to keel. Batavia could carry than 600 tons of cargo and more than 300 soldiers, crew and passengers were crowded aboard.

Although many people were involved in roles, either for good or bad later, the whole tragedy could be traced to the relationship of five key characters.

They were the Commander, Francisco Pelsaert; the skipper, Araen Jacobsz; an under-merchant, Jeronimuns Cornelisz; and, inevitably, two women – Lucretia van de Mylen and her maid, Zwaantie Hendrix.

Lucretia was the beautiful young wife of a company official who was going out to join her husband.

It was then practice on the Dutch Indies ships for the senior man, the commander, to be a senior merchant rather than a mariner. Under him was the skipper, responsible for the navigation and running of the ship.

Pelsaert and Jacobsz were complete opposites.

<< Australian Studies, Middle Park, Victoria.

NEXT: From the moment the Batavia left Holland it was doomed.

THE ORGANISER OF THE ICONIC BATAVIA TRAGEDY WAS SAID TO BE THE DUCTHMAN JERONIMUNS CORNELISZ WHO TURNED OUT TO BE A REAL NON-COMFORMIST. 

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OLD-STYLE BILLYCARTS: Here are some of the stories!

THEY’RE OFF! A TEAM OF BILLYCARTS, NEARLY ALL WITH BALL-BEARING WHEELS, FROM THE 1930s.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

Backyard treasures come in all shape, styles, and sizes!

To come across a billycart built circa 1900 to 1930, is not as simple as it appears.

Some were all hand-made; while others were built in toy factories. By today’s standards many of them, if they still exist, would be suffering from old age.

Billycarts, in Unreliable Memoir by Clive James, shows how he dealt with the exploits at going down the ‘dreaded’ Billycart Hill. It both hilarious and funny. James, in 1949, was age ten.

Australian billycarts were used as early as the 1880s. They were either literally drawn by a billygoat – hence  Australian name 'billycart'- or small two wheeled hand carts for which the name billycart had already become a generic term.

Billycart is also an Australian variation of the English goat cart which, like the dog cart, was originally an 18th and 19th century form of animal propelled cart.

OPEN ROAD-IOO YEARS: CARAVANNING SURGED IN POPULARITY DURING THE 195Os AND 60s. THE EVOLUTION OF THE ROAD TRIP BECAME A WAY TO LIVE.

A later development - the mail cart - was a two wheeled vehicle designed to be pulled by children as a plaything.
Billycart racing (with goats) became a popular pastime for Australian children in the 1920s and thirties.  There are photographs of 1920s featuring boys riding on the back of goats and children in billycarts on the streets of Rockhampton, Queensland.

Billycart racing is still a sporting pastime in Australian. They were also popular in the US, with families from all levels of society.

You have to be a specialist in keeping track of yesterday’s junk exhibitions and antiques dealers. “The historical value of some of the humble objects is worth a lot of money. With Frank Morris.

NEXT: A FEW CHANGES ARE MADE TO A BILLYCART.

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SLEEP EASY: Tossing and turning -- getting a good night’s sleep is not everyone’s cup of tea!

YOUNG ADULTS WHO GET VERY LITTLE SLEEP ARE MORE LIKELY TO BECAME MENTALLY ILL, ACCORDING TO A STUDY.

FRANK MORRIS

ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY, LACK OF SLEEP COULD HAVE OVER 20,000 PEOPLE AGED BETWEEN 17 AND 24 LINKED TO METAL ILLNESS.

THE RESEARCH SHOWS THAT YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE HAD AN INCREASE IN THIS ILLNESS OVER THE PAST DECADES IN AUSTRALIA.

THE STUDY FOUND THAT PEOPLE WHO SLEPT LESS THAT FIVE HOURS A NIGHT “WERE MORE  LIKELY THAN  NORMAL SLEEPERS TO  BECOME  PSYCHOLOGICALLY DISTRESSED IN THE NEXT YEAR”.

“SLEEP DISTURBANCE, AND IN PARTICULAR, INSOMNIA, IS A PREDICTOR OF LATER DEVELOPMENT OF DEPRESSION AND POSSIBLY ANXIETY”, SAID THE PROFESSOR WHO ENGINEERED THIS STUDY.

PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING LESS THAN THEY USED TO, SAYS THE AUSTRALIAN SLEEP ASSOCIATION, AND HOW LACK OF SLEEP IS KILLING US.

EXPERTS SAY, A STUDY SHOWS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE CHRONICALLY SLEEP DEPRIVED COULD END UP WITH SERIOUS PROBLEMS.

JENNY BROCKIE, PRESENTER OF SBS INSIGHT, INTERVIEWED ONE OF HER GUESTS, RYAN FOLLEY, 18, ON “WHAT SORT OF SLEEPER ARE YOU?”.

FOLLEY: A VERY LATE SLEEPER.

BROCKIE: DO YOU SUFFER FROM ANY SLEEP PROBLEMS.

OPEN ROAD-1OO YEARS. LIFE OF THE MOTOR CAR HAS CHANGED RADICALLY SINCE THE FIRST TEST OF THE AUSTIN ROADSTER IN 1928. IT’S ENHANCED PERFORMACE HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE THAT ROAD TEST.

FOLLEY: YEAH. LATE TO GO TO BED. AND I HAVE WHAT’S CALLED DELAYED SLEEP SYNDROME, OR DISORDER.

BROCKIE: SO, YOU CAN’T GET TO  SLEEP. IT TAKES YOU A LONG TIME. WHAT TIME WOULD YOU GO TO BED IF YOU WERE LEFT TO YOUR OWN DEVICES?

FOLLEY: AT NIGHT, EVERYONE IS GOING TO BED AND I’M LIKE UP AND ABOUT AND DOING WHATEVER. I PLAY A LOT OF GAMES AND I COULD BE PLAYING THEM FOR HOURS. I FIND IT HARD TO GET TO SLEEP, SO SOMETIMES I MIGHT GET UP AGAIN.

I THINK ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS, AND WHAT I’M GOING TO DO, LIKE, THE NEXT DAY, OR WHEN I’M OLDER, WHAT I WILL BE LIKE. SOMETIMES, I WORRY ABOUT DYING, AND BEING AFAID OF DYING. I JUST CAN’T SLEEP AND I GET SO CRANKY AND UPSET AND I GO TO TALK TO MY MUM; OR WHOEVER IS THERE. I TOSS AND TURN IN BED AND EVENTUALLY FALL ASLEEP. BUT THEN, ITS JUST TOO LATE.

BROCKIE: AND, THEN RYAN, YOU DRAG YOURSELF OFF TO WORK IN A RESTAURANT IN THE MORNING. HOW TIRED DO YOU GET DURING THE DAY WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO WORK?

FOLLEY: REALLY TIRED AND DRAINED. IT THEN BECOMES TOO HARD FOR ME.

COMING: HOW TO GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST AND WAKE UP FEELING REFRESHED.

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COMING: WHO WAS JOY WIGGLESWORTH? HERE’S A CLUE. SHE WAS NOTEWORTHY FOR SINGING A  FAMOUS SONG.
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CARS WE LOVE …Cord has sleekness and power-plus!

CORD 812 WESTCHESTER SEDAN IN 1937.

FRANK MORRIS

THE CORD RANGE OF SUPERB VEHICLES, MADE BY THE AUBURN AUTO COMPANY, WAS THE EPITOME OF THE ART DECO IN CARS. IN 1936, THE CORD 810 IS OFTEN CITED AS THE “CLASSIC EXAMPLE” OF THE GENRE. NICKNAMED THE “COFFIN NOSE” WAS UNMATCHED WITH ITS AERODYNAMIC STYLE, WITH THE SUGGESTION OF BEING ABLE TO SLIP THROUGH THE AIR EASILY. THE CORD WAS AS MODERN AS TOMORROW. IN HOLLYWOOD, CECIL B. DeMILLE AND GARY GRANT WERE HIGH-PROFILE DRIVERS.

<< ART DECO 1910-1939 MASTERPIECES SUPPLEMENT.

COMING: FLIGHT: THE QUEST WAS STARTED WITH A MAN-MADE PAIR OF WINGS.

NEXT APPEARANCE OF GRAND YEARS WILL BE ON SEPTEMBER 24.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 09 September 21

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