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A residence of eleven years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: A residence of eleven years in New Holland and the Caroline Islands
Author(s): O'Connell, James F.
Date published: 1972
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
One of the most fascinating of the first-hand accounts of life in the islands of the Pacific before the native cultures became influenced and altered by foreign ways is the story of James O{u2019}Connell, first published in Boston in 1836. O{u2019}Connell was born in Ireland about 1810 and at the age of eleven is said to have set out for Australia as cabin-boy on a convict ship. After six years in Australia, he was shipwrecked on Ponape in the Caroline Islands and, by his own account, spent five years there, living with the natives, adopted by one of the chiefs, and marrying a native wife. O{u2019}Connell evidently had something to hide - probably he was an escaped convict - for much of his story is patently untrue. Nevertheless, his account of the early days of settlement in Australia and above all of the life on Ponape is of absorbing interest. The value of O{u2019}Connell{u2019}s book, which has long been out of print, has been greatly increased by Dr Riesenberg{u2019}s lively introduction and notes in which he sorts out truth from lies and adds useful comment on the narrative. Here is a book to be read not only by Pacific historians and anthropologists, but by all who enjoy an exciting and intriguing account of early adventures in Australia and the Pacific.


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