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The Blue-Eyed Aborigine

by Rosemary Hayes

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312688,880 (3.7)1
This is the story of a cabin boy and a soldier marooned on the Australian mainland after a mutiny and shipwreck of the Batavia in 1629, who became Australia's very first European settlers.

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The story of the Batavia is one that has been told already in “Strange Objects” by Gary Crew but it is such an amazing tale. Once again, it is the exiled mutineers Jan and Wouter that Hayes focuses on as the story of being marooned on Australia 140 years before Captain Cook’s “discovery” that makes fascinating reading. This book must be 9-10 as the mutineers raped and degraded the women who were marooned after the Batavia ran aground on the W.A. coast.
  nicsreads | Oct 30, 2010 |
Rather violent in parts.

I had reservations about this book.
The writing felt as if it were directed towards younger teenagers, 10 to 14 perhaps, but I thought the violence was a bit excessive for that age group, particularly girls. The murder of another cabin boy, committed by Jan, and the obliteration of an entire family, including a toddler, do not make for cheerful reading.

The main character is Jan, a young cabin boy from Holland, who is travelling on the Bratavia to Java. He'd always wanted to be a sailor but life as a cabin boy is much harder than expected. He is easily swayed by the smallest bit of friendship shown and ends up following the sadistic Corneliez when disaster strikes and everyone takes sides.
As punishment for the crimes he commits he is put ashore on the coast of Australia and left with Wouter, a sailor, to fend for themselves.
All this is based on historical fact - just as well or I'd have thought it a bit far-fetched :) The historical note at the end of the book explains many of the events and comments on the Dutch features that are to be found amongst Aboriginal people.

Many YA books successfully make the cross-over into adult literature but this was a bit too simplistic.
An interesting subject though and I certainly learnt things about the blood line of the Aborigines of Australia that I hadn't previously known. ( )
  DubaiReader | Jul 23, 2010 |
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This is the story of a cabin boy and a soldier marooned on the Australian mainland after a mutiny and shipwreck of the Batavia in 1629, who became Australia's very first European settlers.

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