Home' Afloat : AFLOAT September 2018 Contents 56 AFLOAT.com.au September 2018
ocean are stunning.
Amanda and Paul chose winter for
their stay as they wanted to see the
Southern Ocean “in full flight. You know,
10 metre seas and 70 knot winds”. Spells
of such weather, and the aftermath, are
described almost reverentially, while
the camera captures the majesty of weather at its rawest.
The stay is not without drama. Paul describes how an unwelcome
bout of pneumonia coincided with a lightning strike that knocked
out all power in a dramatic and damaging fashion.
This handsome, well-designed book will delight anyone with an
interest in the islands and oceans of Tasmania and the people who
make their lives there.
The true story of the plague
ship Ticonderoga, one of the
most calamitous voyages in
by Michael Veitch
published by Allen & Unwin
RRP: $32.99 (266pp; 15cm x 24cm)
‘Hell Ship’ ... no better, or bitter, chilling title could have been
chosen for this horrific story of the voyage of the emigrant ship
Ticonderoga which set sail from the Birkenhead, near Liverpool, in
Michael Veitch, author, journalist and radio broadcaster, has
written, with meticulous care of facts and prose, the tragic narrative
of Ticonderoga, her crew and passengers, a grim tale passed down
through his family for more than a century and a half.
Ticonderoga was crammed with poor, government-assisted
emigrant families – mostly Scottish victims of the Clearances and
the potato famine – hoping for a new life in Australia.
Veitch’s great-great-grandfather, James William Henry Veitch,
was the assistant ship’s surgeon when, three months after setting
sail, the deadly typhus disease erupted among the poorly educated,
generally under-nourished emigrants, many debilitated further by
Families were decimated, as firstly babies and small children, but
later their parents, succumbed to this appalling disease, despite the
courageous efforts of the highly-regarded ship’s surgeon Dr Sanger,
his assistant Dr Veitch, and volunteer nurses from among the small
number of paying passengers.
By the time Ticonderoga entered Port Phillip in November, flying
the dreaded yellow flag, and was directed to drop anchor off a lonely
beach on the far tip of the Mornington Peninsula, a quarter of the
clipper ship’s 800 (approximate) passengers had died and many
more desperately ill.
Among the volunteers was a young woman from the Scottish
island of Mull, Annie Morrison. Finally released from that terrible
voyage and the quarantine station ashore, Annie Morrison and James
Veitch married in Melbourne and settled in country Victoria, never
to set foot on a ship again.
Hell Ship is brilliantly researched narrative, a very sad story of
the sufferings of those who sought a better life in Australia. Many
died, but many also realised their dreams, sadly in many cases their
families decimated by the dreaded typhus. Must read. h
Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
Maatsuyker Through our Eyes
RICHARDSON & WALKER 4780
When accepted by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife
Service volunteer program as caretakers for
Maatsuyker Island, Paul Richardson and Amanda
Walker were well aware they had chosen to live in
isolation in one of the windiest places in Australia at
a time when the weather is at its wildest.
This remarkable book chronicles their preparations,
first impressions and then the daily caretaking tasks
needed to look after the lighthouse, the light keeper’s quarters, outbuildings and
island infrastructure. It tells of ocean swells, driving rains, lightning strikes, mist and
drizzle, calm and sunny periods, bitter cold and record winds. HB 311 pages $75.00
A Very Rude Awakening
In May of 1942, the war seemed very far away to
most Sydneysiders – until the night the three Japanese
midget submarines crept into the harbour and caused
an unforgettable night of mayhem, high farce, chaos
and courage. A ground-breaking new look at one of the
most extraordinary stories of Australia at war. PB 328
Maatsuyker through our eyes
Caretaking on Tasmania’s wild and remote
by Paul Richardson and Amanda Walker
published by Forty South Publishing
RRP: $75.00 (320pp; hardback; lots of colour photos)
Craving for solitude? Somewhere like Maatsuyker Island?
For most of us, dreaming of Maatsuyker is as far as we’ll get, our
knowledge limited to photographs of this windswept outcrop off the
southern tip of Tasmania.
The volunteer Friends of Maatsuyker Wildcare Group visit
periodically to care for the buildings and help with the island’s
‘management’, as do Parks & Wildlife staff and their contractors.
But for an extended stay on the island you need to sign up for the
volunteer caretaker program. Paul Richardson and his partner
Amanda Walker stayed for six months over the winter of 2015.
This book is an absorbing and beautiful telling of their story, with
Paul’s text lavishly illustrated by Amanda’s wonderful photographs.
As they say in their preface, there are surprisingly few images taken
on the island, and this book more than plugs that particular gap.
In exchange for having the island pretty much to themselves
there was work to be done: recording daily weather observations,
cutting grass, repairing storm damage, managing the veggie garden
and looking after the island’s buildings.
Amanda’s camera records all this, as well as their exploration
of their temporary home. Her shots of weather rolling in across the
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