13 September 2017

Australia: Virtual representation of the Batavia legacy

You can now explore the legacy of the wrecked VOC ship Batavia through a new simulation app called ‘Beacon Virtua’.

When the VOC ship Batavia was wrecked off the west coast of Australia in 1629, the survivors reached Beacon Island, the closest large island to the wreck. What followed was a tragic story of mutiny and massacre. Curtin University in Perth has now made it possible to explore this island from home by using the latest technology. Beacon Virtua gives you a virtual tour around the island as it was in 2013, including fishing shacks, jetties and several grave sites of the Batavia crew who were buried after the ship was wrecked. The graves have been reconstructed through a photogrammetric 3D reconstruction. Out of multiple photographs, researchers built a detailed and accurate 3D model, which allows you to see the island from that point exactly as it was in 2013.

Roaring 40s
Beacon Virtua is part of the Roaring 40s project: a maritime archaeological reassessment of some of Australia's earliest shipwrecks, with principal investigators from the Western Australian Museum and the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Royal visit
The simulation was developed at the Curtin Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch (HIVE) and the UWA. Last year, Curtin HIVE received a visit from Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of The Netherlands during their State visit to Australia. The King and Queen were shown the HIVE’s virtual reality simulations of underwater heritage.