Dutch sailor, 1935
Dutch sailor, 1935

Earlier this year archaeologists got all excited about discovering skeletons resulting from the slaughter after the Batavia shipwreck.

These were the most major discoveries, they said, since the first bones were unearthed in the area in 1960.

Perhaps they should have asked the Western Australian Museum which has had a collection of Dutch skulls wrecked on the Abrolhos Islands since the museum opened in the 19th century. Although, it must be said, they’ve kept them somewhat under wraps recently.

In the good old days, anyone could visit the museum and experience the thrill of looking at the skulls of the Dutch mariners, the pipes they smoked, and the flagons from which they quaffed their wine.

Not to mention a collection of associated rosaries, cannon balls and other ship’s gear.

We the public have a right to know why the museum is keeping all the interesting stuff from us.

Where are our four-legged chickens? And where are our shipwrecked sailors’ skulls?

Why would we want to look at anything else?

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