Shipwreck of the Stirling Castle containing a faithful narrative of the dreadful sufferings of the crew and the cruel murder of Captain Fraser by the savages.
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Also the horrible barbarity of the cannibals inflicted upon the Captain's widow whose unparalleled sufferings are stated by herself and corroborated by the other survivors. To which is added the narrative of the wreck of the Charles Eaton in the same latitude. London: George Virtue 1838. Octavo bound in contemporary full calf (slightly rubbed) with morocco title-label to spine. (viii 376pp.). With engraved frontispiece 7 full-page engraved plates including a chart of the New South Wales coast as well as an engraved "emblem of barbarity" at the rear. Despite some foxing and some water staining to the plates this is a good copy of this rare title. In May of 1836 the brig Stirling Castle captained by James Fraser was wrecked on the Swain Reefs at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef en route to Singapore from Sydney. Fraser along with his wife Eliza and several crew reached Great Sandy Island (now Fraser Island) in a lifeboat. After being stripped of their clothes and other worldly goods the survivors found themselves integrated into various family groups of the local Badjala people. The survivors were required to assist with gathering wood and water etc. Eliza was also obliged to nurse an unwell mother. Unfortunately Eliza proved "so inept and resentful that the women tormented her." (ADB online edn 2005) Eliza later reported that she had been held captive. Captain Fraser died after he was speared as a punishment. Eliza was rescued by the convict John Graham who was part of the rescue party led by Lieutenant Charles Otter from Moreton Bay. Eliza Fraser lived to tell her tale which was set to become legend. John Curtis' account is sympathetic towards Mrs Fraser and was published as he writes in the Introduction in the hope that a perusal might "act as a stimulus to Missionary exertions?" (p. vi) Notably Patrick White's A Fringe of Leaves is also based on the Eliza Fraser story.
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Stock No.: 228575
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