by Stephanie Anderson

Publisher: Black Inc

Publication Date: July 01, 2009

ISBN: 9781877096679

Binding: Paperback

Availability: 7-14 Days

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French cabin boy Narcisse Pelletier was fourteen years old when the Saint-Paul was shipwrecked near Rossel Island off New Guinea in 1858. Leaving behind more than 300 Chinese labourers recruited for the Australian goldfields - believed to have been subsequently massacred by the Rossel Islanders - the ship?s captain and crew, including Pelletier, escaped in a longboat. After a gruelling voyage across the Coral Sea to Cape York, Pelletier was abandoned by the crew. He was rescued by an Aboriginal family and remained with them as a member of their clan until 1875 when he was sighted by the crew of a pearling lugger. 'Rescued? against his will, Pelletier was conveyed to Sydney and then repatriated to France. Even though Pelletier?s Cape York experience is all but forgotten in Australia, and in France it is known only in its broad outlines, his story rivals that of the famous William Buckley, both as a tale of human survival and as an enthralling and accessible ethnographic record. The author, Stephanie Anderson, came across Pelletier?s story by chance in an old French anthropological journal. As she started researching it, her fascination with the story grew. She found that Pelletier had left an account of his experiences, first published in 1876, that had never been translated into English.