When our Coral Expeditions cruise arrived in the town of Tobelo on the northwestern arm of the island of Halmahera in October 2018, the Dukono volcano was erupting ash. This should not have been a surprise since research shows that the volcano has been erupting almost continuously since 1978.
The Dukono volcano as seen from the Coral Discoverer
A rift in the earth’s mantle has caused a sea floor spreading zone between the islands of Sulawesi and Halmahere, causing subduction and related volcanic activity along the edge of both islands. There are sixteen volcanoes on the Halmahera volcanic arc, many of which are still active, and an equal number along the Sangihe volcanic arc.
This seafloor map shows the central ridge, like the larger mid-Atlantic ridge, formed by the intrusion of oceanic magma. This intrusion causes spreading of the sea floor and the related subduction zones are shown by the seafloor trenches developed on each side of the central ridge . The water filled sediments that are subducted into the earths interior then become superheated, melt the surrounding rocks, and cause the volcanic activity.
The related volcanoes can be best seen on this topographical map of Halmahera which shows a line of volcanoes formed along the western side of the island, including the clove islands of Ternate, Tidore, Moti and Makian which are offshore.
The Dukono volcano is only 10 km from the town of Tobelo. While we were there it was continuously erupting ash, but fortunately the wind was blowing to the northeast and away from the town.
The Dukono volcano as seen from the town of Tobelo
Your Honours should know by experience that trade in Asia must be driven and maintained under the protection and favour of your Honour’s own weapons, and that the weapons must be paid for by the profits from the trade; so that we cannot carry on trade without war, nor war without trade.
— Jan Pieterszoon Coen, in a letter to the directors of the Dutch East India Company.
It was Jan Pieterszoon Coen who founded the port city of Batavia (Jakarta) in 1619 as a regional trading base, to build and repair ships, warehouse spices and to be the military and administrative headquarters of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the East Indies. ‘King Coen’ or the ‘Butcher of Banda’ ruled his realm ruthlessly from 1618-1623 and from 1627-1634 delivering the VOC vast quantities of Asian commodities at low prices.
It was Jan Pieterszoon Coen who successfully developed the Intra-Asian trade which generated huge profits for the VOC and its shareholders, and it was these profits that drove the ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch Art. He wrote of his business plan to the Directors of the VOC and the key message was ‘all without money from the Netherlands’:
Gujurati textiles must be traded for pepper and gold on the shores of Sumatra: Pepper from Banten for reales and textiles from the coast of Coromandel, Chinese goods and gold for sandalwood, pepper and reales, silver can be got from Japan for Chinese goods, the textiles from the Coromandel coast for spices, pieces of eight from Arabia for spices and other small goods, making sure that one compensates the other, and that all is done in ships without money from the Netherlands.
— Jan Pieterszoon Coen, in a letter to the directors of the Dutch East India Company.
Jan Pieterszoon Coen was a member of the Dutch fleet commanded by Admiral Verhoeven that sailed to the Banda Islands in 1609 with orders to build a fort and consolidate Dutch control over the nutmeg trade. As the walls of the fort rose, opposition from the Bandanese increased until the admiral was forced to arrange a peace meeting with the local chiefs. Jan Pieterszoon Coen narrowly escaped death when the Bandanese surrounded and killed Admiral Verhoeven, along with 42 Dutch soldiers and senior officials.
Jan Pieterszoon Coen was always going to take his revenge against the Bandanese and in 1621 he assembled a fleet of thirteen vessels and an army of over 1500 soldiers to sail from Batavia. After provocations from both sides he unleashed the Banda Massacre which is said to have killed as many as 15,000 islands and sent the remaining population into exile.
Coen’s lasting legacy was the Dutch monopoly over the growth of nutmeg and cloves in the Spice Islands, which he established by force of arms and the deaths, exile or enslavement of thousands of islanders. A statue stands in the town square of his hometown Hoorn in honour of its most famous son, but whatever honours and reputation as an empire builder Jan Pieterszoon Coen enjoyed during his lifetime, these were always accompanied by charges of barbarity and inhumanity.
In 1623 the Dutch East India Company sent an expedition of two ships, the Pera and the Arnhem, commanded by Jan Carstensz to explore what they later called the Gulf of Carpenteria. He named a river on Cape York Peninsula after Jan Pieterszoon Coen, as shown on the map below. Today that river is known as the Archer River and the name Coen River is given to one of its tributaries.
The township of Coen lies is on the eastern side of Cape York Peninsula with the Coral Sea forming its eastern boundary. and the Gulf of Carpentaria forming its western boundary. The Peninsula Developmental Road 81 runs roughly north to south through the locality. and the township is located where this road crosses the Coen River. The township is 2,200 km northwest of Brisbane and in the 2016 census it had a population of only 364 people. I am not sure how many of the good people of Coen know the full history of the infamous Jan Pieterszoon Coen.
The Australian National Maritime Museum has announced that following negotiations with the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation in Western Australia, the museum will take over the ownership and management of the replica Duyfken.
‘We are pleased and honoured that the Duyfken Foundation approached us to take over the custodianship of this wonderful Fremantle built vessel, and we are thankful that we are able to provide a safe home for it,’ said Kevin Sumption, Director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
The Duyfken replica ship was built by the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation, jointly with the Maritime Museum of Western Australia, and launched on 24 January 1999 in Fremantle. Construction of the vessel was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kailis family. Chief executive Peter Bowman said while it was emotional for the Duyfken Foundation to see it go, the transfer was the best option to preserve the ship and continue public access.
After its launching in Fremantle, the Duyfken replica sailed to the Banda Islands in Eastern Indonesia in June 2000 to re-enact the original voyage of exploration made in 1606 by Willem Janszoon and the Duyfken towards New Guinea and Australia.
Unlike the voyage of 1606, the replica’s captain, Peter Manthorpe, and his crew came ashore on Cape York with the permission of the Aboriginal people. This time, message sticks and handshakes were exchanged – not musket balls and spears.
Local communities were invited to participate in the arrival in any way they saw fit. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie joined the traditional owners of the Pennefather River mouth, Aboriginal singers, dancers and more than 200 people from local communities came to welcome the vessel.
The next voyage was in 2002 and would take almost a year and cover 15,000 kilometres across the Indian Ocean and up the eastern board of the Atlantic Ocean to Holland, where the Duyfken story began almost 400 years previously.
The journey was instigated by an invitation from The Netherlands to be a major participant in celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Dutch East India Company, otherwise known as the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie).
The replica’s journey was to retrace the return voyages of VOC fleets in the 17th century to the Netherlands, picking up the same trade winds the Dutch knew so well and braving the same challenges of the stormy southern cape of Africa, equatorial doldrums and the stormy north Atlantic.
Spring gales made the last week of the voyage the toughest for the replica’s crew before she was welcomed ‘home’ to Texel, the Netherlands, on April 28, 2002.
Crown Prince Willem Alexander joined an estimated 40,000 people to welcome the replica to the place where the original Duyfken was built. The little ship had made its the long journey, visiting 10 countries across four continents.
During the spring and summer of 2002, the Duyfken replica visited many of the original VOC ports in the Netherlands and took part in a host of maritime events. By the end of the stay, over 300,000 people had come aboard the ship.
The Duyfken voyage undertaken in 2006, marked the 400th anniversary of the first documented European contact with Australia.
It was a partnership between the Australian Government, the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation and the history and heritage division of the Australasian Hydrographic Society, called ‘Australia on the Map: 1606-2006’.
To help commemorate this defining period in our history, the Duyfken replica visited 25 ports around Australia to highlight the importance of the country’s rich coastal and maritime heritage.
This included Indigenous sites, Macassan (early Indonesian) sites, early European settlements as well as modern structures, such as wharves and jetties, lighthouses, coastal defence installations and shipwrecks.
Thousands of visitors to the ship were given a deep appreciation of Australia’s earliest European history as well as the courage and skills of 17th century seafaring explorers.
There is a lot more about Willem Janszoon and the 1606 voyage of the Duyfken in Ian Burnet’s book The Tasman Map. Just go to the website below for more details.
The Pacific Ocean was first sighted on September 25, 1513 by the explorer Vasco Balboa when he reached the summit of the Isthmus of Panama and viewed its huge expanse.
In 1520 Ferdinand Magellan and his Armada de Moluccas, on a planned voyage west towards the Spice Islands, discovered the Straits of Magellan and entered the Pacific Ocean.
This map by Batista Agnese is really interesting because it shows how much and how little is known about the Pacific Ocean at the time of its first crossing by Magellan in 1521. During the Pacific crossing the expedition only found two unpopulated islands where they could replenish supplies. The great patch of green is of course the clove trees they were looking for in the Spice Islands.
This map by Abraham Ortelius shows the Victoria crossing the Pacific. The expedition was now down to three ships and had to face a long Pacific crossing with all the crew suffering from scurvy until they finally arrived in the Philippines. It is interesting that the map shows New Guinea as an island some fifteen years before Torres sailed through the Strait which bares his name in 1606.
In March 1606 the Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon in the yacht Duyfken reached the Cape York Peninsula which he considered as part of New Guinea, and it was in October of that same year that Luis Vas de Torres found his way through the Torres Strait.
This 1622 map of the Pacific Ocean by Hessel Gerritsz, the chief mapmaker for the Dutch East India Company, shows the first appearance of part of Australia on a world map, even if it is named as New Guinea.
Detail from that map shows Cape York as discovered by Willem Janzoon and named Nueva Guinea. The text to the left reads – These parts were sailed into with the yacht of De Quiros about Nueva Guinea on 10 degrees westward through many islands and dry banks and over 2, 3, 4 fathoms for full 40 days. Presuming Nueva Guinea not to stretch over the 10 degrees south – if this were the case – then the land from 9 to 14 degrees must be separate and different from the other Nueva Guinea.
In other words – Australia!
Many of these maps are referred to in detail in the book The Tasman Map. Please go to the website below for more information.
In the 15th century the aromatic spices of cloves and nutmeg, grown only in the remote Spice Islands of present day Indonesia were said to be worth their weight in gold and were some of the most valuable of traded commodities.
After the discovery of the America’s, the 1494 of Treaty of Tordesillas between Spain and Portugal divided the world in half, along a line of demarcation in the Atlantic Ocean halfway between the Portuguese claimed island of Azores and the island of Hispaniola discovered by Columbus. The Treaty then allowed Spain to claim any territory discovered to the west of this line and Portugal any territory discovered to the east.
The two Iberian powers were now in a race to reach the source of these valuable spices and claim it for themselves, by sailing in opposite directions around the world and across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean respectively. Although neither of them could accurately measure longitude and know in whose supposed half of the world the Spice Islands were actually located. The results changed the map of the world and even the first map of Australia.
Follow this link to view the 30 minute presentation on ‘A World Divided ‘made by Ian Burnet at the ANZ Map Conference in October 2020 at the National Library of Australia.
Miracles don’t often happen but a miracle happened when I first made contact with David Rosenberg and Rosenberg Publishing, as he shared my vision of publishing my book Spice Islands with the maps and images embedded in the text. So that when you were reading about a map or image, there it was in front of you.
This is usually only seen in expensive coffee table books. But David was able to achieve this in a 200 page book with 70 colour images printed on quality paper for the same price as you would pay for a regular paperback and over the years I have seen no other publisher achieve the same result.
David and I shared a special relationship because over a period of ten years we have published five books in this special format – Spice Islands, East Indies, Archipelago, Where Australia Collides with Asia and The Tasman Map – all to critical acclaim. Unfortunately this relationship will come to end because due to medical reasons David will no longer publish any new books – although Rosenberg Publishing will continue to market and distribute their existing books.
I would like to recognise and thank David and Scilla Rosenberg for their remarkable achievements and our cooperation over the last ten years.
Don’t stop dreaming because, Yes – miracles can happen!
Ian Burnet, seorang warga Australia, pernah lama bekerja di Indonesia di bidang geologi. Setelah pensiun, dia sudah menulis lima buku terkait Indonesia dalam sepuluh tahun terakhir.
Ian sekarang sudah berusia 75 tahun dengan istri asal Indonesia yang kini tinggal di negara bagian New South Wales.
Namun usia tidak membuatnya mengendurkan kegiatannya untuk menulis.
Dengan pengalaman bekerja dan mengunjungi Indonesia selama lebih dari 30 tahun, Ian melihat banyak hal yang kemudian memberikannya inspirasi untuk menulis buku.
“Saya pertama kali ke Indonesia di tahun 1968 dan anda bisa bayangkan itu tahun setelah ‘The Years of Living Dangerously’ [sebuah film Australia yang menggambarkan masa pergolakan di Indonesia tahun 1965],” kata Ian Burnet kepada wartawan ABC Indonesia Sastra Wijaya. Silakan ikuti tautan di bawah ini untuk membaca laporan lengkapnya.
Garden of the East: Photography in Indonesia 1850s–1940sis the first major survey in the southern hemisphere of the photographic art from the period spanning the last century of colonial rule until just prior to the establishment of the Republic of Indonesia in 1945. The 2014 exhibition provided the opportunity to view over two hundred and fifty photographs, albums and illustrated books of the photography of this era and provides a unique insight into the people, life and culture of Indonesia.
The exhibition is comprised of images created by more than one hundred photographers and the majority have never been exhibited publicly before. The works were captured by photographers of all races, making images of the beauty, bounty, antiquities and elaborate cultures of the diverse lands and peoples of the former Dutch East Indies. Among these photographers is the Javanese artist Kassian Céphas, whose genius as a photographer is not widely known at this time, a situation which the National Gallery of Australia hopes to address by growing the collection of holdings from this period and by continuing to stage focused exhibitions such as Garden of the East.
Leo Haks of Amsterdam started collecting photographs from Indonesia after a chance purchase in the Hague in 1977. From that start Haks became fascinated with early photography in Indonesia between the 1860s and 1940s. In 1984, he returned to Amsterdam and became a dealer in rare books and Indonesian paintings. He co-authored a number of books on Indonesian art and continued building what became the only museum standard holding of Indonesian photography in private hands.
Leo Haks built a collection of 5000 prints, as well as thousands more in albums both grand and humble. These albums, prints and his library of over 140 mostly rare books on the subject — all lugged up the narrow staircases of his four storey Amsterdam home — were expertly catalogued and rehoused in archival sleeves, new bindings or specially made cases. It was in 2006 that the National Gallery of Australia acquired this world class collection.
Gael Newton, Senior Curator of Photography, National Gallery of Australia and the Curator of the 2014 exhibition ‘Garden of the East‘ said that the exhibition presents images, both historic and homely and is a ‘time travel’ opportunity to visit the Indies through more than two hundred and fifty works on show, made by both professional and amateur family photographers. Images as diverse as the Indonesian archipelago itself, which was once described by nineteenth century travel writers as the ‘Garden of the East’.
The book Garden of the East -photography in Indonesia 1850s -1940s has been published by the National Gallery of Australia and the Indonesian visual heritage collection is available online by clicking Gallery on the link below.
Please click on the link below to watch a short documentary on the Garden of the East photographic exhibition.
For those who missed the talk on Instagram Live last week, then here is a link to the conversation between Janet de Neefe and Ian Burnet about Spices, the Spice Islands and Indonesia’s extraordinary maritime history.