Three castaways living with First Nations people

Aug 01, 2014, 10:59 AM

In the early 1800's, when a fourteen year old French cabin-boy Narcisse Pelletier, who was abandoned by his captain and crew to die beside a dried up waterhole on Cape York but was rescued by the Uutaalnganu Aboriginal people. He also lived for seventeen years with them near what is now Lockhart River, going far out to sea in canoes with tribe members, hunting dugong, ray and turtle.

He only left them at gunpoint – the British sailors holding the guns on his adopted Uutaalnganu family thought they were rescuing him. He regarded himself as kidnapped.

This one 3 different stories of castaways who were living with the with Aboriginal people before the trauma of colonisation—and sometimes during it. Their accounts provide a fascinating record of that time. They come to us via Iain McCalman's book charting human interaction along the Great Barrier Reef, 'The Reef: a Passionate History'.

Source: Radio National - Hindsight July 2014