Australian Ripping Yarns 2. Pirates and Poisoners, by Paul Taylor

By Paul Taylor

Stories instructor did not inform. Buccaneers and blood-curdling cannibals, heroes and villains, legends and lowlife. An soaking up cavalcade of characters and occasions that experience contributed to shaping the Australian heritage.The pirates, the Hollywood idols, the lethal enigmas, the wearing epics, the macabre. This riveting compendium of superbly instructed tales is tough to overcome for a bedtime learn, say the critics.

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Additional info for Australian Ripping Yarns 2. Pirates and Poisoners, Scoundrels and Screen Stars, Ratbags and Rogues

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Behind, they left 54 dead and Swan told Dampier they were ‘stript, and so cut and mangl’d, that he scarcely knew one man’. Among the bodies was Dampier’s ‘ingenious friend Mr Ringrose [who] had no mind to this voyage; but was necessitated to engage in it or starve’. The man who was Robinson Crusoe The original depiction of Robinson Crusoe. The novel was inspired by Dampier’s books and Alexander Selkirk, the fiery pirate Dampier marooned. Alexander Selkirk, a quarrelsome Scot with a quick-fire temper, was First Mate on the Cinque Ports, a 16-gun 90-ton privateer commanded by Dampier.

He and his real life princess, Te Pahi’s daughter, sailed to Sydney, where she died giving birth to a daughter. Bruce, Macquarie said, left the infant at the Female Orphans School and went back to England. He was a drunken rogue, Macquarie advised, and he should never be allowed to return to the colonies. Five years later the Reverend Samuel Marsden, the flogging parson of Sydney and a man every bit as bloodthirsty as the cannibals of New Zealand, went to the Bay of Islands on behalf of Macquarie and spoke to the warriors who had taken part in the massacre.

Now, in the clearing, the ship’s surgeon and Dampier’s close friend, Lionel Wafer, was sitting ‘on the ground near one of our men, who was drying off gunpowder in a silver plate, but not managing it as he should, blew it up’. The explosion shredded Wafer’s knee and shin and sent powder burns scorching up his thigh. He was in a bad way. Would Dampier fight to save his friend? Or would he stay true to his pirate code? William Dampier is an enigma. If he was an incompetent drunken coward, as some of the buccaneers who served under him claimed, he had an odd way of showing it.

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