The Blue Eyed Aborigine
This is the story of two young men – Jan Pelgrom, who was a cabin boy and Wouter Looes, who was a soldier. Both were involved in the notorious mutiny (in 1629) after the shipwreck of the Batavia on the Houtman Abrolhos group of islands, just off the coast of Western Australia.
Unlike the other mutineers, most of whom were hanged, Jan and Wouter had a different punishment. They were given a few supplies and then marooned on the Australian mainland near the mouth of the Murchison River, thus becoming Australia’s very first European settlers.
The Batavia mutiny and the shipwreck are well documented in the diaries of the ship’s Commander, but there is no record of what happened to Jan and Wouter once they were abandoned. However, later European explorers to the region reported coming across Aborigines with blue eyes, suggesting that at least one of the two young men survived.
The first half of The Blue Eyed Aborigine is based on fact. The second half is pure fiction.
Hayes gets the tone, pace and action just right. Jan’s story is gripping. Straight on to the school readings lists for this one, and for the best possible reasons.
A gripping adventure story that raises timeless questions about human behaviour, conditioning and ultimately the power of love.
Hear Rosemary speak about her recent shipwreck stories.