Dark Paradise: Norfolk Island – Isolation, Savagery, Mystery and Murder
by Robert Macklin (Hachette, $35)
Author Robert Macklin has successfully woven together the stories of the colonial settlement of New South Wales, the history of Norfolk Island and the saga of the Bounty mutineers. This is rich material tapped by other writers, but Macklin shines new light on each.
His account of the mutiny and its sad aftermath is graphic. He candidly characterises most of the mutineers as an unsavoury bunch. Matthew Quintal, in particular, the man who burnt the Bounty once the mutineers had settled on Pitcairn Island, he describes, probably justifiably, as a ‘thug’.
Anyone interested in early Australia and beautiful Norfolk Island should read this book. As Macklin notes, there is evidence Polynesians occupied both islands long before Europeans entered the Pacific. For reasons unknown they departed. Europeans stayed and, on balance, have been seriously, sometimes fatally, unkind to each other in both places ever since. — PETER CORRIS