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 General Military History    
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Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1072

Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 6:01:37 AM
Didn't really know where to put this, so here it is. I learned today that during the horrific saga of the wreck of the Batavia in 1629 Australia's first building was constructed, a tiny drystone 'fort' so some shipwreck survivors could withstand attack from another group of survivors who had planned to mutiny and take over the ship if it hadn't wrecked. It is called Wiebbe Hayes fort on West Wallabi Island in the Houtman Abrolhos islands off Western Australia.


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Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5289

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 6:46:55 AM
Is it a national historic site Riain? Protected?


Your post piqued my interest so I found a site that describe the sordid tale.

Have they made a movie of this event?

[Read More]


Cheers,


George

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2752

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 8:34:10 AM
Riain,

Where you there when it was built??

MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1072

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 2:02:17 PM
George, apparently Russ Crowe has bought the rights to make a movie, its a pretty heavy duty story so should make a good movie if done properly.

Dave, I wasn't there when it was built, I was one of the crazed mutineers on the other island who was dressed in silk clothes when the rescue turned up. But I told a good story so they marooned me on the mainland.
---------------
Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 5289

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 2:16:09 PM

Quote:
George, apparently Russ Crowe has bought the rights to make a movie, its a pretty heavy duty story so should make a good movie if done properly.


With Crowe playing Wiebbe Hayes no doubt.


George

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1072

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 2:45:13 PM
Hayes was 21, maybe Rus will play Pelsaert who was about 35; captain of the ship, harrowing decision to leave, difficult journey to Batavia, dramatic 'in the nick of time' rescue and swift, harsh justice. He could leave out the punishment for negligence the VOC meted out as a result of the wreck itself.
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Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2752

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 4:32:10 PM
That story of Hayes saving his men has to be one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. Much like Swiss Family Robinson, but true!

[Read More]

Go Russell Crowe Hayes!
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1304

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/16/2016 8:31:13 PM
Raian, nitpicking I know but this defensive structure is better described as the earliest European structure in Australia. That in itself is pretty damned awesome: 1629 is an incredibly early date for European contact.

I don't know whether your Aborigines (is there a PC word for them?) were builders, though I think not. But there must be some findings suggesting Aboriginal habitation, be they only middens. IIUC, there was a recent find of some significance to early habitation in Oz.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2752

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/17/2016 6:29:10 PM
Good points Brian!
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1072

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/17/2016 11:39:38 PM
Point taken, yes the fort is the oldest European building in Australia however given aboriginal building I would hazard a guess that it is the oldest building, period. The vast majority of aboriginals were semi nomadic hunter gatherers without a basic agricultural crop to tether them to one place and encourage building long lasting structures, certainly nothing like north American people built. The exeption to this rule is the people around the condah swamp who used abundant volcanic stone to build weirs to trap eels and fish which they smoked in hollowed out trees. By improving the wetlands they created a magnet for game in summer so built permanent houses with stone bases and strong wood frames for walls. However this didn't survive the Frontier wars and pandemics of settlement so not much remains today.

The remains of a stone hut at Condah.


The remains of a fish trap channel at the Condah swamp
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Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1304

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/20/2016 7:09:14 PM
In a way similar to what is found at Condah, there are indications of ocean fish traps in the Haida Gwaii area in British Columbia. Most are at some slight depth off the coast of the islands (IIRC about 100 feet down), but at one point the islands comprising Haida Gwaii were much larger higher in the water than now. IIRC (I haven't read the book – Tom Koppel's Lost World – in some years) these channels dated back some 8,000 years.

I find such examples of early civilization fascinating. Can you think of a single book about aboriginal culture (or pre-contact development) on Oz?

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1923

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/20/2016 7:27:48 PM

Quote:
In a way similar to what is found at Condah, there are indications of ocean fish traps in the Haida Gwaii area in British Columbia. Most are at some slight depth off the coast of the islands (IIRC about 100 feet down), but at one point the islands comprising Haida Gwaii were much larger higher in the water than now. IIRC (I haven't read the book – Tom Koppel's Lost World – in some years) these channels dated back some 8,000 years.

I find such examples of early civilization fascinating. Can you think of a single book about aboriginal culture (or pre-contact development) on Oz?

Cheers
Brian G
--brian grafton


Would interest me too Riain.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

Riaindevoy
Geelong, Australia
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 1072

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/22/2016 5:40:47 AM
I can't recommend a book, I know about Condah because it's between where my parents lived and I lived and I used to drive through it regularly. Here's some stuff on it.

[Read More]
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Vegetarian: the ancient tribal word for the villiage idiot; who was too stupid to hunt, fish and ride!

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1304

Re: Australia's oldest 'building'
Posted on: 11/27/2016 1:50:12 AM
Trevor and Riain, I did some checking and came up with the following.

One recommended volume is an Allen and Unwin publication by Scott Cane called First Footprints, published sometime around 2014.

Title is self-explanatory, but the history of the book is confused. IIUC, there was a TV archeological series by the same name, and I don't know whether the book was chicken or egg. Sometimes this matters bigly (sorry, I had to write that at least once), but other times both can be brilliant. Does anyone remember the book and TV series by Jacob Bronowski titled The Ascent of Man? Brilliant in both forms!

Victoria is blessed with a brilliant bookstore called "Munro's Books", and I went there for assistance. Munro's was begun by one Jim Munro, ex-husband of Alice Munro, the 2013 Nobel prizewinner for literature. Jim retired some years ago and left his book store to some core staff members (some 4-6 people), who between them know encyclopedias of information. I simply walked in and said I was interested in a decent introduction to pre-contact aboriginal culture in Australia. The woman I spoke to checked with a colleague, took me to the section where any Australian pre-contact history would be, and than announced they no longer had the volume for sale. Undeterred, she asked me to wait while she searched for the details of the volume they had been selling. She came back to me five minutes later with the information I offer above.

More information than anybody needs or wants, perhaps, but Jim Munro died this past week. And today, in the rain and a temperature of about 5°C, there was a line of folks waiting inside the entrance of Munro's to sign a book of remembrance. He was a decent, warm, kind man who loved books, and he shared that love with an entire city. We have larger book shops than Munro's in Victoria (though none with quite so many titles), but for book lovers the atmosphere Jim instilled in his store (as it moved to larger and larger premises over the years) was both enriching and soothing. Amazon might save you money, but Munro's offered a chance to share a mutual love.

Cheers
Brian G

---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

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