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Wiebbe Hayes Stone Fort
The Fort - West Wallabi Island - Colour.JPG
The fort in 2001
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General information
Type Defensive structure
Location West Wallabi Island
Country Australia
Construction started 1629
Official name Ruins of Two Stone Huts
Type Heritage Council
Designated 31 July 1995
Part of Houtman Abrolhos Islands
Reference no. 3990
Australian National Heritage List
Official name Batavia Shipwreck Site and Survivor Camps Area 1629
Type Historic
Criteria A, C, D, G
Designated 6 April 2006
Reference no. 105887
Ongeluckige voyagie vant schip Batavia (Plate 3)
Batavia Battle

The Wiebbe Hayes Stone Fort on West Wallabi Island (also known as Wiebbe Hayes Island) is the oldest surviving European building in Australia and was built by survivors of the  Batavia shipwreck and massacre. West Wallabi Island is 63 km (39 mi) from the coast of Western Australia.

History

Following the Batavia shipwreck in 1629, a group of the marooned soldiers under the command of Wiebbe Hayes were put ashore on West Wallabi Island to search for water. A group of mutineers who took control of the other survivors left Hayes' group there secretly hoping that they would starve or die of thirst. However the soldiers discovered that they were able to wade to East Wallabi Island, where there was a fresh water spring. Furthermore, West and East Wallabi Island are the only islands in the group upon which the tammar wallaby lives. Thus the soldiers had access to sources of both food and water that were unavailable to the mutineers.

Later the mutineers mounted a series of attacks, which the soldiers repulsed. The remnants of improvised defensive walls and stone shelters built by Wiebbe Hayes and his men on West Wallabi Island are Australia's oldest known European structures, more than a century and a half before expeditions to the Australian continent by James Cook and Arthur Phillip. The remnants of "the fort ... [are] nothing more than a tiny, sandstone-coloured rectangle in the scrub about 100 metres [110 yd] from the sea. It is unimpressive and isolated and yet this simple structure, just some loose rocks piled up to make a simple fortress, is the first building Europeans constructed in Australia."

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