Garuda Bird

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The Sign of Indonesia

Jun 15, 2010

The Abandoned Onrust Island

The Dutch called this island Eijland Onrust (Dutch for "Unrest"). Onrust is also known as Palau Kapal (Ship Island) or Palau Damar Besar. Onrust was the site of a major shipyard and five sided fort that had belonged to the by then defunct Dutch East India Company. The Dutch had to rebuild the naval base on Onrust several times due to British attacks, such as the one in 1800. The last restoration was in 1840. In 1883 the explosion of Krakatoa sent a huge tidal wave that destroyed the last Dutch naval base on the island. During the 19th Century Onrust held a sanitorium for people suffering from tuberculosis and a quarantine station for pilgrims returning from the for pilgrims returning from the Hajj to Mecca. The quarantine barracks took up some two-thirds of the island and could hold 3,500 pilgrims. Over the years erosion reduced Onrust from its original 12 hectares to 7.5 hectares (2002). The administration then built concrete retaining walls around the island but these are now in a dilapidated state.

The Onrust Island and three other close islands, namely the Kelor Island, Pulau Cipir (Kahyangan) and the Sakit Island (Bidadari) was part of the Thousand Islands group that was located in Jakarta gulf waters. After VOC Netherlands had the power in 1619, the Onrust Island and surrounding area were made the foremost defense post to protect the Batavia city (Jakarta). This Onrust Island fortification was destroyed during 1800 resulting from the English attack. Afterwards was built again in 1840 as the naval base, but was again destroyed during 1883 when the tidal wave resulting from the eruption of the Krakatau mountain happening These islands were neglected more than a quarter of the century. Just was built again in 1911, but his function and no longer as the place of the defense but as the pilgrim's quarantine. The existence of this history received quite big attention from the Special Capital District of Jakarta Government.

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