'Aroe' referred to one of the Aru islands that lay in eastern Indonesia, south of Irian Jaya. The land muster-rolls of the year 1785 refer to the archipelago as the 'Zuidooster Eylanden'. In that year the outpost on Aroe, then named Wokan, was manned by 11 VOC employees. The island was famous for its oyster banks. A report about the post written by the 2 VOC officials Cornelis Stul and Carel Roosenburgh, who visited the island in 1683, paints a bleak picture of the situation at the time. They found a nurse and two soldiers seriously ill and a half-blind sergeant. The schoolmaster who had been appointed to bring Christianity to the indigenous population was absent, having undertaken a journey in order to promote his private trading interests. The governor further learned that two other VOC employees had been murdered, while a third had died not long before his visit.