Friday, September 02, 2011


The events that happened aboard the Dutch East India Company's Batavia in 1629 off the coast of Western Australia is sadly one of the lesser known events of early Australia history. While it takes place over 150 years before Phillip and the First Fleet landed, it is the earliest know landing of Europeans.

But that's only a (very) small part of the story. And what a story it is! Peter Fitzsimons described it as being "a true Adults Only version of Lord of the Flies meeting Nightmare on Elm Street." A slight exaggeration perhaps, but the shipwreck of the Batavia (especially in Fitzsimons rollicking style) tells the tale of the birth of the world's corporation, the brutality of colonisation, the battle of good versus evil, sea-faring adventure, mutiny, shipwreck, love, lust, blood-lust, fascist dictatorship, a reign of terror, murder most foul, sexual slavery, survival, retribution, rescue, first contact with native peoples and much, much more (phew!). No wonder there's talk of turning this book into a movie.

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