PoP first came across Jeffrey Mellefont, an Honorary Research Associate at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM), when we read one of his lyrical articles in Signals about viewing a total solar eclipse while sailing in the Moluccas ("All I can say is, how extraordinary to live in a solar system where our one and only … Continue reading UNESCO heritage-lists Indonesian wooden boat building
Recent research presented at a maritime archaeology conference has revealed at least 48 shipwrecks - including WWII ships and some post-war vessels - have been illicitly salvaged in Southeast Asia. This figure is an astonishing escalation from the handful of wrecks already known to have been damaged or destroyed. Japan has lost the most wrecks. Other nations affected include Australia, … Continue reading The race to save up to 50 shipwrecks from looters in Southeast Asia
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
PoP's ocean-obsessed Natali Pearson writes about the third in a dance trilogy by acclaimed Indonesian choreographer, Eko Supriyanto, now on show in Belgium. Since its establishment in Brussels in 1969, the Europalia Art Biennial (10 October 2017-21 January 2018) has always featured a guest country, and this time it’s Indonesia’s turn. Europalia pitches itself as an … Continue reading Salt
In this special blog post, Natali Pearson outlines PoP’s (double!) panel for the EuroSEAS conference to be held next week at the University of Oxford. If you happen to be in the area, come and hear us talk about ritual and ritualisation in Southeast Asia! Stay tuned in the weeks to come for our post-conference … Continue reading EuroSEAS@Oxford, here we come!
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
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
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?
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
In 1942, HMAS Perth and USS Houston sank in the Sunda Strait, taking with them over 1000 lives (and one cat). These wrecks have been at the mercy of the ocean - and scavengers - for over 50 years. Now, cultural institutions in Australia and Indonesia are collaborating to protect the wrecks from further damage and … Continue reading Finders, not keepers