BADGINGARRA – Alberte and the Gilt Dragon

Gilt Dragon

As a taste of what is too come, here is a yarn that I am following up. Incidentally, I am yet to sit down and interview the fabulous lady as yet, however, I shall be sometime in the near future; hence, until I have spoken to her, I am holding back the names of the people who have made these sightings, and the exact place of said encounters. A big thank you to C.H.!

Read on!

  • My mother has a great ghost story based in coastal side of Badgingarra in the 90’s. Ghost called Alberte…

    Not long after Mum or Dad had been digging in the yard, and had disturbed a certain amount of dirt for the garden of the house they were living in, Alberte started appearing; followed by others in period specific dress. Interestingly Alberte was the name of a captain of a ship… which was wrecked near Cervantes…

    “It’s an amazing story. She saw him quite a few times… Dad didn’t believe her, then he saw a girl in a period dress!! That changed the pace of things for a while… We researched ships and the name Alberte and came up with more info…”

    Built in 1653 by the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the Vergulde Draeck (Gilt Dragon) was a 42-metre, 260-tonne, ‘Jacht’. In 1656, on only its second voyage, the Gilt Dragon set sail for the VOC’s spice-trading headquarters at Batavia (Jakarta). However due to the difficulties of 17th century navigation, the Gilt Dragon accidentally sailed too far east and found itself off the coast of a massive and largely unknown land.The Batavia

    On the night of the 28th of April 1656, the Gilt Dragon struck a submerged coral reef midway between what are now the coastal towns of Seabird and Ledge Point, Western Australia.

    On board were 193 crew, eight boxes of silver coins worth 78,600 guilders and trade goods to the value of 106,400 guilders. What happened next makes for fascinating reading…

    It is believed that the wreck began to break up almost immediately.

    Of the 193 crew, 118 are believed to have perished in the wreck.

    Of the survivors, 75 people, including the ships Captain, Captain Pieter Albertszoon* and very capable Under Steersman (name unknown), made it to shore. They had with them two small boats, one damaged, along with a small amount of provisions and stores.Gilt Dragon Coins

    The Under Steersman and six of the fittest crew members were immediately dispatched to Batavia in the one seaworthy boat. It was a long and difficult voyage for the shipwrecked survivors. After a journey of some 1400 nautical miles, lasting 41 days, with little water, little food and suffering from exposure, the Under Steersman arrived at Batavia and the search for the survivors and cargo began.

    Almost immediately the ships the Goede Hope and the Witte Valk were provisioned and dispatched. Large storms off the coast meant that both ships were unsuccessful and quickly returned to Batavia without finding any trace of the survivors.

    In 1657, the Vink, sailing from the Cape to Batavia, was directed search for the survivors on its passage. Again, due to bad weather, no sign of the survivors were found.

    After so many weather influenced failures, a decision was made to search for survivors during the calmer summer months. On New Years Day in 1658, some two years after the Gilt Dragon was wrecked, two ships, the Waeckende Boei and the Emmeloort were provisioned and another expedition was launched to find survivors and cargo. This time, the indefatigable Under Steersman Abraham Leeman accompanied them!Beardman Jug

    On 24 February 1658, the Emmeloort sighted land off what is now the Bunbury Coast and continued to sail north. On March 8 1658, shore fires were sighted and a search party was dispatched, however the fires hard been extinguished by the time they made shore. The next day another and they met up with a group of aborigines who had been responsible for the fires. The party also reported seeing crops of grain growing and land under cultivation. However, no traces of survivors and wreckage of ships were found.

    The Waeckende Boei was a little more successful. On 23 February 1658, after sighting land near present-day Two Rocks, they saw fires and a party was sent to investigate. Two days later, after returning to the ship due to bad weather, they reported that the beach was littered with wreckage from the Gilt Dragon. There were also signs that survivors had been in the area, as they found a circle of planks with their ends planted in the sand. However, no survivors were found.

    During the various searches, a small shore party, led by Abraham Leeman, became separated from the Waeckende Boei. Bad weather prevented Leeman and his damaged shore boat from returning to the Waeckende Boei, and after four days of bad weather, Leeman and his party were assumed dead. The Waeckende Boei returned to Batavia and Leeman was marooned! Leemans account of survival has been cemented into Gilt Dagon history. Leeman and his small crew did their best to repair their small boat using bush timber and seal skin. They had no choice but to sail for Batavia as best as they could. After approximately six months, during which they covered approximately 1400 nautical miles, suffering from thirst and hunger, and after losing men to both death and desertion, Leeman and three sailors arrived at the Dutch East India Company (VOC) settlement of Japara. Leeman survived his epic journey north.Question Mark

    Despite the significant expense to the VOC, and the extraordinary efforts of remarkable men like Abraham Leeman, and the additional loss of life endured by various rescue parties, not a single survivor of the Gilt Dragon was ever found. What happened to them?” – Source of this article is unknown to me. Ownership of this article is not my own, permission for reprint unavailable.

    Click the lesser image of the coins above, a song of the sea lays within!




    All posts and associated media associated with ‘’ remains ©The World Turned Upside Down.


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