Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Beacon Island Visualisation

Beacon Virtua - A virtual reality simulation of Beacon Island

In Beacon Virtua you can explore the legacy of the VOC ship Batavia by visiting a simulation of Beacon Island. Beacon Virtua will take you on a tour of the island including its jetties, fishing shacks and several grave sites of Batavia voyagers who were buried on the island after the ship was wrecked and following the uprising. The graves have been reconstructed through a technique called photogrammetric 3D reconstruction, a process which uses multiple photographs of an object to build an accurate and detailed 3D model of it.

Beacon Virtua presents the island as it was in 2013, using audio and photography captured during multiple expeditions to the island to preserve this period in its history. In 2013 there were around 15 small shacks located across Beacon Island, originally used by the fishing community. These shacks have been recreated as 3D models, which can be explored inside and out. Around the island are photographic panorama bubbles offering 360° views of the island. These bubbles have been captured using a special panoramic photography process - stepping inside a bubble allows you to see the island from that point exactly as it was in 2013.

There are four ways to experience Beacon Virtua:

  1. Watch a preview video.  The video below illustrates the main features of the full simulation.

    A second video is also available which shows the simulation in its entirety.
    If you like what you see and would like to explore on your own, please check out options 2-4 below.

  2. A simplified, demonstration version of Beacon Virtua is available to explore within your web browser (Windows and Mac only).
    This web version has reduced graphics, a limit of three photographic panorama bubbles, and flat images of the grave models (instead of full 3D models). 
    The Beacon Virtua WebGL version    (Small download size: ~25MB)
  3. A Google Cardboard (Google VR) version which will run on iPhone and Android smartphones. 
    You will need a Google Cardboard compatible head-mounted display to run this version.
    Download Beacon Virtua on the Apple App Store - or search for "Beach Virtua" on the App store on your handset.
    Download Beacon Virtua on Google Play - or search for "Beacon Virtua" on Google Play on your handset.
  4. The full version of Beacon Virtua includes full graphics, over 120 photographic panorama bubbles, 3D models of graves and other features, and full audio – a much richer experience. 
    The full version will run on Windows and Mac computers.  The download is considerably larger.
    Download the Full Version of Beacon Virtua:   Windows version [700MB]   Mac version [700MB]

We are exploring other ways of deploying Beacon Virtua. To keep up to date with Beacon Virtua and the Roaring 40s project you can visit the Roaring 40s Facebook group.

Feedback and Updates

To provide feedback about Beacon Virtua, be advised about updates, and receive news about the Roaring 40s project, please visit our Facebook page:


This project was supported by the following:

The Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP130100137) 'Shipwrecks of the Roaring Forties: A Maritime Archaeological Reassessment of some of Australia's Earliest Shipwrecks’ Principal Investigators: Alistair Paterson (UWA) and Jeremy Green (WA Museum);
The Department of the Environment 2012 Your Community Heritage Grant—Batavia National Heritage Listing;
The 2015 Department of the Environment, Protecting National Historic Sites Maritime Archaeological Project PNHS-8;
The Western Australian Department of Fisheries; and
The Western Australian Museum.

People who contributed to the project include:

Paul Bourke (UWA) - Original Unity design and implementation
Nick Oliver - Unity and WebGL development
Aaron Cross - Building models and other asset contributions
Andrew Woods (Curtin University) - Project management

Developed at the Curtin HIVE and UWA