Swords and Pikes Fly at Batavia Re-enactment
A re-enactment of the Batavia story was the centrepiece of a two-week Humanities programme designed to prepare Year 8 boys for the Leeuwin Sailing Experience in Shark Bay next term.
Performers from the Grey Company, a historical re-enactment group, recreated some of the events surrounding the infamous shipwreck, mutiny and massacre. Donning period costume and brandishing weapons of the era, the boys enjoyed demonstrations of sword fighting as well as a chance for some to dress in amour and wield a pike.
“The whole thing was enlightening and entertaining”, Ellis Ormonde said. While Christian Keller declared: “The only part I didn't like was not being chosen to charge at the audience with a pike!”
Head of Humanities David Proudlove, who co-ordinated the programme, said the re-enactment helped bring the gruesome Batavia story to life and made it more than just a historical investigation for the boys. “Unfolding as it did, not far beyond the horizon off the coast of Geraldton, we wanted the boys to know why the Batavia Coast is so named. We also wanted them to learn how the early 17th Century Dutch merchants and explorers came to make their mark indelibly on early Western Australian history.”
In another classroom experience, the boys will have to imagine themselves shipwrecked on Dirk Hartog Island, the first European landfall in Western Australia, with only the materials likely to have washed ashore from a vessel such as the Batavia. The programme finishes next week with an investigation of the incredible natural and human history of the Shark Bay. “It should set the scene for an experience of a lifetime for the boys – out among the dugongs and dolphins.”
In a first for any WA school, every Year 8 student at Christ Church will spend a week on board the Leeuwin II as part of the School’s outdoor education programme. The partnership between the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation and the School will allow groups of up to 40 boys to experience life on board the tall ship as it sails in and around the Shark Bay World Heritage Site.