Scientists are still recovering the 125 bodies of those murdered by a brutal gang of rebels hell bent on becoming pirates after their ship crashed into an uninhabited island 400 years ago.
Beacon Island, later named Batavia’s Graveyard and nicknamed Murder Island for the atrocity that would occur, was the site of Australia’s first and biggest massacre.
Centuries after the shipwreck of the Dutch sailing ship on a tiny Western Australian island, the story of what happened to those who swam ashore remains largely untold.
Scroll down for video
Beacon Island, later named Batavia’s Graveyard for the atrocity that would occur, was the sight of Australia’s first and biggest massacre
Scientists are still uncovering the bodies of 125 men, women and children who were slaughtered on the island nearly 400 years ago
Batavia was a ship of the Dutch East Company (VOC).It was built in Amsterdam in 1628
On October 28, 1628, the Dutch East India Company gave the green light for a ship to set said from Texel in the Netherlands to Batavia, which we now know as Jakarta in Indonesia.
There were 316 people on board, including regular families and children, and soldiers guarded the spices and silver being transported.
Tensions were heightened on board the Batavia, which was named after its intended destination, with a mutiny planned to turn the vessel into a pirate ship.
In order to hatch a take-over plan, rebels sexually assaulted the daughter of a wealthy merchant to provoke a reaction from the hierarchy.
With the mood on both sides of the dispute reaching boiling point on June 4, 1629, the Batavia hit Morning Reef, some 60km off the coast of Western Australia.
There was a desperate scramble as survivors attempted to reach land.
Around 40 people drowned in the chaos, but worse was to come on the small islands surrounding the shipwreck.
After one of the rebels assumed control of the remaining survivors, he and a loyal gang of killers rounded up anyone deemed to be a threat to their power.
They were raped and murdered by the gang in scenes described by experts as the real Lord of the Flies – a brutal novel which focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous and brutal attempt to govern themselves.
A replica of the Batavia ship which crashed into a reef off the Western Australia coast
The killings took place on a place we now know as Beacon Island and it became clear barbaric rebels were not reserving their executions for those who threatened them.
Journals from chiefs revealed the mutineers killed more than a hundred people in the month of July.
Among the brutal deaths registered was a baby murdered to stop it crying, a boy decapitated to test the blade of a sword and a family of six butchered for no reason whatsoever.
Those murdered were dumped in mass graves.
On a separate island, a member of the Batavia’s hierarchy had established a much more civilised living arrangement, with fresh drinking water and ample food supply.
As the murderous clan and the merchants waited for a rescue ship – one group wanted to be rescued to continue their lives, the other wanted to commandeer the vessel to live a life of piracy on the seas.
Once again, with a raging battle about to erupt, violence was cut short as the Sardam rescue ship appeared.
The commodore took the side of the hierarchy and the mutineers were arrested.
Rebels were rounded up, questioned and tried in a formal court on a nearby island.
To get truth from some of the mutineers, water torture was used, and the sentences were carried out.
Some were hanged, some had limbs cut off and some were taken to Batavia to be executed there.
Dr Al Patterson (pictured right with journalist Liam Bartlett) is working with a team of scientists from Australia and the Netherlands
Dr Patterson told the program the stranded passengers would have had ‘no where to go’
As they waited to be rescued for over three months, men, women and children were massacred on the island in what archaeologists have since dubbed ‘a real life Lord of the Flies’.
Many of the women were raped repeatedly as the mutineers slaughtered all across the island.
Scientists are still uncovering the bodies of 125 men, women and children who made it to the tiny stretch of land, part of the Abrolhos Islands in the Indian Ocean.
In a 60 Minutes segment on Sunday night, the story of the Batavia and her slaughtered crew was detailed.
Dr Al Patterson told the program the stranded passengers would have had ‘no where to go’.
‘Once the story got out, it would have been an intense experience to be here as those events were going on,’ Dr Patterson said.
Scientists from both Australia and the Netherlands don’t know just how many bodies are buried under the sand on the island.
As the 60 Minutes crew filmed the segment, another skeleton was unearthed, making it the fifteenth body to be found.
Those responsible for the bloody massacre were eventually discovered and hanged.