Batavia, 1629

Batavia is one of Australia’s most notorious shipwrecks. On 4 June 1629, the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) ship, Batavia wrecked off the coast of Western Australia, in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. In the chaos that followed, one man led a group of mutineers on a violent spree, assaulting and murdering over 100 people.

The wreck site was discovered in 1963. Since the late 1960s, the WA Museum has conducted over twenty expeditions to the underwater and terrestrial sites resulting in new discoveries and research.


Western Australia with Perth marked in the south and Geraldton and the Batavia wreck site in the mid-west.

About Batavia

Country of origin

The Netherlands




3 masted ship

Tonnage (gross)



Texel, the Netherlands


Batavia, Java, East Indies


4 June 1629, Morning Reef, Houtman Abrolhos Islands


Discovered by Dave Johnson, Max Cramer, Hugh Edwards, Henrietta Drake-Brockman, Graham Cramer, Greg Allen, Bruce Melrose


Commonwealth Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018

Learn more

An aerial photograph of the ocean, showing the location of the shipwreck Batavia.

Read about Batavia’s journey from the Netherlands, how it wrecked on Morning Reef, the disastrous events that followed, and the eventual discovery of the wreck site in 1963.

Protecting Batavia's history

Site protection and management

The underwater and terrestrial sites in the Wallabi Group associated with Batavia and its survivors are protected under the Commonwealth Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018, and Western Australia’s Maritime Archaeology Act 1973. As a National Heritage Listed place, the site is also protected by the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The WA Museum works with other state and federal authorities to manage and conserve these sites.

National Heritage List

The ‘Batavia Shipwreck and Survivor Camps Area 1629’ was inscribed on the National Heritage List in 2006. The National Heritage List recognises places of outstanding heritage significance to Australia and protects the ‘Batavia Shipwreck Site and Survivor Camps Area 1629 – Houtman Abrolhos’ under Commonwealth law. Any actions that may impact the heritage values of the place require approval from the responsible Federal Minister.

Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park

In July 2019, the islands related to Batavia became part of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park. The park consists of all islands and parts of islands not occupied by commercial fishers and aquaculture operators. The park is managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The occupied lands, leased by Abrolhos Body Corporate members, and the waters surrounding the Abrolhos Islands are managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.


Other resources

Explore the Batavia collection online

The hull of the shipwreck Batavia
Batavia hull 3D model [external link]
The reconstructed Batavia portico
Batavia portico 3D model [external link]
A block from the Batavia portico
Batavia portico block 3D model [external link]
A block from the Batavia portico
Batavia portico block 3D model [external link]
An artefact from the Batavia
Batavia artefacts (online collection)


Further reading

Translation of Francisco Pelsaert’s journal by Adriaan de Jong

Databases of the people aboard the VOC ships Batavia (1629) & Zeewijk (1727)

Report on the 2007 National Heritage Listing Archaeological Fieldwork

2005 Long Island Archaeological Survey