When the ship Isabella sails from Sydney in June 1836, its orders are to search for survivors of the Charles Eaton, a ship which had been missing for two years.
What the crew of the Isabella found was disarming. On Murray Island, known to be inhabited by head hunters, they find just two survivors – a toddler and a young cabin boy – living with the natives. They also find seventeen skulls – the remains of the other victims of the wreck of the Charles Eaton. The islanders have slain these seventeen, but spared the boys because they were believed to be the ghosts of long-lost children now returned to them.
The story of the rescue of the two white boys and subsequent events is told by the fifteen year old clerk of the Isabella, whose job it is to try to keep the two survivors calm and happy on their trip back to Sydney. This chocie of narrator adds depth to the book, with the clerk’s insights and asides proving very telling.
Based on a factual story, author Gary Crew and illustrator Mark wilson weave a story of intrigue.
The Castaways of the Charles Eaton, by Gary Crew and Mark Eaton