The Tin Museum, Tanjung Pandan, Belitung
After our amazing school visit we climbed aboard the buses and within minutes we were outside a museum. Soon inside we saw a model of our first tin mining dredger (back and front) - they cause so much damage to reefs by burying them in sand.
The white dots represent tin mines, which has brought wealth to the island.
Belitung was in British possession from 1812 until Britain ceded control of the island to the Netherlands in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. Belitung is a source of tin, clay, iron ore and silica sand. The Dutch mining company NV Billiton Maatschappij derives its name from the island’s English name (Billiton). Billiton merged with BHP in 2001 to form the largest diversified resources company, BHP Billiton.
Display cupboards with so many different rocks, all labelled.
Models of tin mines
The museum (originally called Museum Geologi and situated in Kelapa Kamput) began in 1962 with the collection of an Austrian geologist called Dr Rudolf A.J. Osberger (1928-1972) who wanted to show the history of tin mining on Belitung. After his death, the museum was taken over by the local government and moved to one of the Dutch built houses originally used as living quarters for ferrymen during the colonisation era. It was also used as an office for N.V. Billiton Maatschappij. More was added to the collection including Chinese ceramics, weapons, metal equipment and a mini zoo at the rear housing native animals of the island.
We moved to the weapon room and the trigger finger moved into operational mode – this time and uniquely right next to a glass case containing...............
............meteorites, then the trigger finger couldn’t reach, then one it could. Happy Bear.
The far end of the far room was dedicated to the Tek Sing and some of her cargo.
An information panel in English read: The Tek Sing (Chinese, “True Star”) was a large three-masted Chinese ocean-going junk which sank on February 6, 1822 in an area of the South China Sea known as the Belvedere Shoals. The vessel was 50 metres in length, 10 metres wide and weighed about a thousand tons. Its tallest mast was estimated to be 90 feet in height. The ship was manned by a crew of 200 and had approx. 1600 passengers. The great loss of life associated with the sinking has led to the Tek Sing being referred to in modern times as the “Titanic of the East”.
Sailing from the port of Amoy (now Xiamen in Fujian, People’s Republic of China), the Tek Sing was bound for Jakarta, Indonesia laden with a large cargo of porcelain goods and 1600 Chinese immigrants. After a month of sailing the Tek Sing’s captain, Io Tauko, decided to attempt a shortcut through the Gaspar Strait between the Bangka-Belitung Islands, and ran aground on a reef. The junk sank in about a hundred feet of water.
The next morning, February 7, an English East Indiaman captained by James Pearl sailing from Indonesia to Borneo passed through the Gaspar Strait. The ship encountered debris from the sunk Chinese vessel and an enormous number of survivors. The English ship managed to rescue about 190 of the survivors. Another 18 persons were saved by a wangkang, a small Chinese junk captained by Jalang Lima. This Chinese vessel may have been sailing in tandem with the Tek Sing, but had avoided the reefs.
On May 12, 1999, British marine salvor Michael Hatcher discovered the wreck of the Tek Sing in an area of the South China Sea north of Java, east of Sumatra and south of Singapore. His crew raised abut 350,000 pieces of the ship’s cargo in what is described as the largest sunken cache of Chinese porcelain ever recovered. Human remains were also found, but they were not disturbed as most of Hatcher’s crew, being Indonesian and Chinese, believed that bad luck would befall any who disturbed the dead. The Tek Sing’s recovered cargo was auctioned in Stuttgart, Germany in November 2000.
Amazing to us was the fact that these incredibly old bits and bobs were just there........ In any other museum they would be in climate-controlled, heavily locked glass display cases. Even the little black stones marking the edge of the floor displays were unmolested by visitors – can you imagine that being the case in most English museums......
Special bits of porcelain were in glass cases.
A massive, part-restored pot dominated the other wall.
The map shows the location and distribution of valuable shipwrecks in Indonesian waters.
Under this wreck map was the information panel that read: In the sea of Indonesia, is estimated there are 463 potential points of origin treasure cargo ship sank. Based on the assumption of international circles, every point has a sale value of at least 10 million U.S. dollars. Thus, the potential treasure trove of Indonesia could range between one to five billion U.S. dollars (Rawis, 2004: 91).
Data from DKP to mention that there are approximately 700 to 800 point potential treasure to be appointed, but the newly identified 463 points. Until now approximately 46 points already raised, or about 10 per cent.
We got the gist and can see if the Government ever needed a huge amount of money they would not have too far to look and most of it in relatively shallow waters.
Back through the Chinese bits and bobs.
Past the weapons display.
And back to where we had started.
Inside – an ugly brute. Outside – the same can be said of the saltwater crocodile.
Our final chap was extremely handsome, with that on board the bus and with a final look we were off to lunch at the invitation of the Regent.
ALL IN ALL A REAL GEM
A REALLY INTERESTING PLACE TO VISIT