Perspectives on the Philippines

We reveal the authors of our special series on the Philippines!

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The padewakang: Puzzling together the past

Putting together a 400-piece, 3D puzzle is hard enough without the pieces warping and shrinking. But that was exactly the problem faced by maritime historian Horst Liebner and his team of expert Makassan boat-builders in Belgium last month when (re-)assembling a life-sized, traditional Indonesian sailing ship known as a padewakang. The timbers had fitted perfectly when … Continue reading The padewakang: Puzzling together the past

The power of cloth: Melinda Piesse’s Batavia Tapestry

Earlier this year, PoP’s Museum and Heritage Studies scholar Natali Pearson wrote about her visit to the remote Houtman Abrolhos Islands – site of the Batavia’s wrecking on its maiden voyage to the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) in 1629. The story of the Batavia – characterised by a midnight shipwrecking, months of murder and mayhem … Continue reading The power of cloth: Melinda Piesse’s Batavia Tapestry

Performing Heritage (or, Making Temples Great Again)

Natali Pearson, our Museum and Heritage Studies researcher, takes a look at the Obama family's recent visit to the 9th century temples of Borobudur and Prambanan in Indonesia, and muses on the mythologising of these monuments both past and present. Last week, former US President Barack Obama and his family visited Indonesia, where they followed … Continue reading Performing Heritage (or, Making Temples Great Again)

When it comes to disappearing ocean history, HMAS Perth is the tip of the iceberg

This Thursday, 8 June, is World Oceans Day and so critical are the issues facing our oceans - including climate change and plastic pollution - that the United Nations has convened a high-level conference on their future. While its focus is ocean conservation, another aspect of our seas has been conspicuously neglected: the vast array … Continue reading When it comes to disappearing ocean history, HMAS Perth is the tip of the iceberg

Museums, masterpieces and morals

The ongoing fallout from the criminal charges brought against disgraced Asian antiquities dealers Subhash Kapoor and Nancy Wiener has put a spotlight on the Asian collections of many of the world’s great museums, raising questions about provenance, ownership and the hunt for stolen antiquities. An exhibition of collection masterpieces at New York’s Asia Society Museum … Continue reading Museums, masterpieces and morals

Ghost ships: why are World War II naval wrecks vanishing in Indonesia?

February/March 2017 marks 75 years since the sinking of many Allied ships in Indonesian waters in World War II. Now the resting place of thousands of sailors, divers were surprised to find five of the wrecks in the Java Sea have completely vanished, likely the work of salvagers. In an extended version of an article first … Continue reading Ghost ships: why are World War II naval wrecks vanishing in Indonesia?

Treasure Island meets Lord of the Flies: rediscovering the Batavia shipwreck

Natali Pearson, PoP’s resident museologist, visits the site of one of Australia’s bloodiest maritime disasters, and discovers the remarkable technology that is being used to make Beacon Island accessible to everyone From our tiny 6-seater plane, the 122 islands that make up the Houtman Abrolhos are deceptively close to the Western Australian coast. Taking off from … Continue reading Treasure Island meets Lord of the Flies: rediscovering the Batavia shipwreck