Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A rough arrival in New Holland.

[M]ystery long surrounded the fate of the Zuytdorp. She had left the Cape of Good Hope in 1712, bound for Batavia, and then vanished until, two centuries later, in 1927, an Australian stockman found on a clifftop various objects worn by age and eaten up by rust, but still clearly identifiable: they had belonged to the crew of the lost ship. Some time afterwards, divers discovered what remained of the wreck in the reefs below. It was clear that a group of castaways had managed to climb the cliff and survived for quite a while in this barren spot. Were they perhaps adopted by local Aborigines? One of these tribes shows genetic features that can only be explained, it is said, by contact with Dutch blood.
Simon Leys, The Wreck Of The Batavia: A True Story 5-6 (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005).

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