Circumnavigating Macquarie Harbour [67]

By Trevor Costa

The Paddlers:

  • Trevor and Helen Costa
  • John and Raylee Harvey
  • Keith Aubrey
  • Dick Johnston

The Sea Kayaks:

  • 2 Mirage 530s (Kevlar)
  • 2 Current Design Storms (plastic)
  • 1 Bear Mountain Design, Endeavour (wood)
  • 1 Advanced Kayak, Islander Tour (wood)

In February 2007 a group of six Canberra paddlers headed for Strahan, South West Tasmania, with the intention of paddling Macquarie Harbour. The plan was to launch from Strahan and paddle the harbour in an anti-clockwise direction, with a side visit to the Gordon River, making the most of seasonal conditions.

Like many places in Tasmania, but perhaps even more so, Macquarie Harbour combines great natural beauty with a history that is colourful and tangible, with many relics surviving and accessible to the more persistent visitor. In researching the trip we couldn’t help but feel a connection to those in the past who had also relied on small vessels to journey through these waters. Perhaps they too had taken into account many of the factors that our group was considering, such as the likely conditions we would meet, achievable distances and best places to camp.

The European history in this part of the world is intrinsically linked to the finding, harvesting and utilisation of Huon Pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii). The yellow wood from the Huon Pine was, and still is, highly prized as ship building timber. It is easy to work and its oily nature (it has oil instead of sap) repels wood borers. The stands of Huon pines found along the Gordon River were harvested by the penal settlement on Sarah Island which was established in 1822. The convicts from the settlement were forced to row up river in appalling conditions and toil in the forests to bring the timber out. The conditions the convicts endured were portrayed in the film “For the Term of His Natural Life” which was based roughly on the book of the same name by Marcus Clarke. The valuable Huon was also the reason why in the 1900s the piners and rivermen braved the isolation and conditions with such tenacity to continue the harvest.

My wife Helen and I had paddled the Gordon River in 2003. This trip had coincided with the 20th anniversary of the success of the “No Dams” campaign which stopped the construction of the Lower Gordon below Franklin Dam. Even this snippet of the region’s history was linked to the forests, as the dam would have drowned the cool temperate rainforest where trees such as the Huon Pine grow.

Day 1

Lesson from the Day: Caged fish swim deep on warm days.

The early morning light revealed the group gathered at West Strahan Beach with boat loading well underway. Once on the water we were pushed along by a gentle NW wind that soon had sails hoisted. Helen and I had the Norm Sanders type sprit sails, while the others sported V-shaped sails and I made a mental note to see how the two styles compared over the trip.

We made Yellow Bluff in great time and the much anticipated crossing of Kelly Channel to the western side of the harbour. We aimed for Elizabeth Island, ferry gliding across the current that flowed towards the harbour’s entrance and the sometimes aptly named Hells Gate. The lighthouse at the entrance was clearly visible as we made Elizabeth Island. It’s not far from here that the last boat to be built on Sarah Island, the brig Frederick, was hijacked by convicts and sailed to Chile. This meant freedom for some, but further betrayal and incarceration for others. Not a convict in sight on this fine day. The conditions were superb and the crossing went off without a hitch.

By midday we had reached our intended overnight destination of Betsy Bay, so we eagerly pushed on while the conditions were with us. We landed for lunch at Liberty Point across from the fish farms and a couple of boats came over to check us out. The fish farm guys explained they didn’t have much to do as the warm weather was forcing the caged fish deep. After a quick chat they sped off in their V8 workhorses leaving some great waves to surf in their wake.

Onwards to Double Cove for afternoon tea with the NW winds rising. Club members John Lipscombe and Margot Toddhunter, who had done this paddle recently, told us about Double Cove and a great camping spot in the Blue Gum forest. It certainly was a great spot with a white pebbly beach and a welcomed swim in the golden waters, but we couldn’t find any good camping spots. Later, after taking a float plane flight over our paddle route, we saw that we had only gone into one of the two coves; the campsite must have been in the other cove round the corner. This is why it is called “Double” Cove.

We pushed on towards Steadman’s Beach as the wind and waves picked up for some nice sailing. Down wind each type of sail seemed to push the boats along at a steady rate but perhaps the V-shaped sails seemed slightly faster. The campsite we found near Steadman’s Beach was picture perfect: white sandy beach, emerald forest and freshwater creek right beside. We all hit the tents early after such a great effort on the first day. We were now within easy striking distance of Sarah Island and only a few more clicks to Birch’s Inlet.

Keith had brought along a marine radio and the weather forecast for the next day wasn’t sounding too good with increasing north westerlies.

Day 2

Lesson from the Day: Kayakers can attain a sense of belonging by hanging out in tourist traps.

The wind built all night and Day 2 saw us pushing off in the early morning into strong NW winds and white caps as far as the eye could see. The ride to Sarah Island certainly wasn’t a fair weather paddler’s delight but sure was a blast. The wind and waves were slightly abeam and after the fiftieth white cap tried to climb on board I wondered how the mariners of yesteryear would have handled these conditions in their open boats. On landing on Sarah Island, an experienced member of the group stated that these conditions “were probably as bad as you would take on voluntarily”. At least we had the luxury of considering whether to venture out in these conditions or not; in the old days such options may not have existed.

One of the big ferries from Strahan docked and we soon found ourselves amongst a seething throng of fellow tourists. In our paddling gear I felt sure we would stand out like ducks in a chook pen. But apart from a few fleeting sideways glances, no one seemed to be that curious about our audacious fluoro attire as we mingled amongst the melee to hear the guide who was giving the rundown of the Island’s colourful history. We had found “our tribe”. Our seamless assimilation may be understandable given the colourful clobber of the average tourist in Tasmania.

The penal settlement on Sarah Island was established in 1822 for repeat offenders and soon earned a reputation as a place of extreme cruelty, a virtual living hell. However by the time of its closure in 1833 a thriving ship building industry had been established and conditions had much improved. A total of 96 ships and boats were built here. The remains of the shipyard can still be seen. The last ship to be built, the 121 ton brig the Frederick mentioned earlier, has a story of intrigue and daring connected to it that would put any Hollywood movie to shame. If you are in Strahan I can recommend taking in the play, “The Ship that Never Was” about the hijacking of the Frederick. It is Tasmania’s longest-running play, performed daily and is great fun and a rollicking tale to boot.

As we were about to launch, another group of sea kayakers landed. They seemed very relieved to have reached their destination where they intended to catch the next ferry back to Strahan. We had watched them from the island for some time, making hard work of it coming out of Birch’s Inlet against the conditions. We got some good advice on how to find Mousley’s Hut on Birch’s Inlet and the conditions we could expect up the Gordon River. They had also intended, like us, to make the Franklin River but their attempt was stopped by the first big rapid on the Gordon, aptly known as The Big Eddy. I was disappointed to hear their story, as when Helen and I had paddled the Gordon River in 2003 we had also tried to make the Franklin to be stopped by rapids. I hoped that by the time we were scheduled to make the latest attempt in a couple of days, the river’s flow would have decreased enough to allow safe passage up the rapids.

The conditions were directly behind us as we left Sarah Island and we made good progress towards Birch’s Inlet. Even so, no one had the nerve to keep the sail up for long until we had rounded Rum Point. Out of the wide expanse of the main harbour the chop was diminished and the waves were smoother and well defined, but still powerful as they were fuelled by the entire fetch of the harbour; great fun to surf under sail. We had some trouble spotting Mousley’s Hut amongst the trees but thanks to the information given by the kayakers earlier, we were soon settling into one of the most comfortable wilderness huts I have ever stayed in. The West Coast Wilderness and Recreation Association and Tas Parks and Wildlife have done a great job in building and maintaining Mousley’s Hut. It’s a must stop over if ever down that way.

Day 3

Lesson from the Day: Never piss off a possum.

Day 3 saw us exploring Birch’s Inlet in what was supposed to be a day for a relaxing paddle, but of course turned out to be one of the biggest paddle days of the trip. It started well with some great paddling among the morning mist as we travelled down the east side of the inlet which marked the boundary of the Gordon/Franklin Wild Rivers World Heritage Area. We headed for a hut we knew existed up one of the two small rivers (the Sorrel and Birch’s Rivers) that flowed into the top end of the inlet. This hut is used by researchers of the rare Orange Bellied Parrot. As we explored the tributaries, we meandered through the narrow passages formed by close vegetation, the country changed from forest to heath land. After paddling the Sorrell as far as we could navigate with no hut in sight, we proceeded back to the inlet and up the Birch’s River. We eventually found the landing for the hut but discovered that the hut itself lay another 250m from the river bank. We decided to head back to camp without visiting, as time was getting away on us. On the way we briefly stopped for a breather and checked out another hut in the Conservation Area on the western shore, left over from the mining days. We returned to Mousley’s Hut plum tuckered.

We managed to get enough sleep despite a late night raid on the hut by ninja possums whose siege strategies included launching from a tree onto the side of the hut and scraping their claws on the corrugated iron walls all the way to the ground. We later learned that the possums had been provoked somewhat, as Helen, on the way to the loo in the middle of the night, inadvertently slammed the head of one of the furry marsupials in the door as it tried to muscle its way into the hut. She managed to extract the determined critter and get the door shut behind her. The possum then proceeded to run in decreasing circles around her feet as she made the dash to and from the outside loo. She made it back into the hut OK with a hefty slam of the door, despite another attempt at illegal entry. We can only imagine the mayhem if the possum had succeeded in its mission to make its way inside. Helen later received the Medal of Honour for bravery in the face of a determined and dazed marsupial.

Day 4

Lesson from the Day: If you get epoxy on your hands don’t wipe them on the nearest tuft of grass, as in Tassie this tuft may actually be comprised of razor sharp cut grass. Oh, and remember to pack plenty of Elastoplast.

Early morning found piles of possum poo discreetly deposited on the hand rails of the walkway leading from the hut (devious critters) and us packing to leave the harbour to head up river to Eagle Creek Camp on the Gordon. We had morning tea at the mouth of the river taking in the incredible vista across the waters to the mountains. Heading up river proved hard work at first as there was a strong current to contend with, courtesy of an overnight release of water from the Gordon Dam. Still we made reasonable progress slip streaming each other paddling in Indian file. We watched the tourist ferries grumble by while having lunch at the Boom Camp (also known as Pine Landing) where a fishermen’s hut is located. The Boom Camp is another historical spot associated with the pining history. It’s here that the logs were gathered and combined to form rafts, to be towed up the harbour to Strahan.

Heritage Landing was just around the corner and while the others explored the interpretation boardwalk in the cool temperate rainforest, I tried my luck with my fishing lure, trolling out the back of the kayak for any hungry resident trout. I lost the lure in five minutes on a snag and as I pushed the hatch cover back on my day hatch in a minor tantrum, I noticed movement of the hatch rim inwards. Not a good thing, but further investigation would have to wait until that night’s camp.

Once all were back on the water I was surprised to see a platypus swimming casually alongside, close enough to see him wink before he disappeared under the dark waters. We made Eagle Creek Camp in good time, with me, the ever experienced river guide, nearly shooting straight past it. The Tas Parks and Wildlife had changed the camp site from the eastern side of the creek to the western side, which made for a much dryer camp than Helen and I recalled from our last visit. While the others sat relaxing preparing tea, I set about repairing my day hatch. It wasn’t hard to remove the hatch rim as it looked like I had used the wrong proportions of epoxy mix when I originally installed it, so it never quite set properly. An embarrassing and potentially serious mistake if the failure had occurred in rough water. I had brought along a repair kit for the trip, including epoxy glue, which had the hatch repaired in no time (right proportions of epoxy mix this time) and I felt this redeemed my original day hatch construction blunder somewhat. But for the last word on this saga see the Lesson from the day.

Day 5

Lesson from the Day: Never resent the presence of big red cray boats until you know who is on board.

As we launched from Eagle Creek camp to head up river, we watched as a large red cray boat rounded the bend and dropped anchor. We took in the great scenery of Limekiln Reach and visited Lake Fidler on our way to Snag Point for a bite to eat. As we left Snag Point the same cray boat pulled up mid river and again noisily dropped anchor. This boat seemed to be following us. Combined with the regular float plane flights buzzing overhead on their way to Sir John’s Falls, we started to resent these intrusions to our supposed wilderness experience. This contrasted to when Helen and I visited in 2003 when we didn’t see or hear another soul for a week. The group paddled past Marble Cliffs, which was alive with the buzz of bees, and rounded Butler Island.

It wasn’t long before the jetty at Warner’s Landing could be seen on the left and the little beach opposite that marked Gordon Camp and Gould’s Landing. We landed on the beach and made our way to the hut above. The hut proved to be a little worse for wear since our last visit in 2003 but at least the toilet was functional this time. Right on cue the big red cray boat appeared again and anchored across at Warner’s Landing. A quick walk to check out Sir John’s Falls cleared some of the paddling cobwebs. We met the next float plane as it moored alongside the jetty below the falls, chatting to the pilot and making a pact we would catch the plane and fly over the paddle route once we returned to Strahan.

While preparing dinner on the beach we had a visit from one of the crew of the cray boat that had shadowed us all day. He explained that the skipper of the boat was Garry Kerr who had co-authored a book on the Huon Pine and the stories and history behind its harvesting. Garry was taking some friends up the river, stopping off to explore the significant historical sites along the way. On learning this we mentioned that on our way back down river we were keen to locate the old lime kilns along Limekiln Reach. They are often referred to in information on the Gordon River but their exact location isn’t.

Garry soon came across in a runabout to give us some rough directions on how to locate the kilns. He was a quietly spoken bloke and modest to boot. On talking further about the history of the region, we learnt of his involvement in the TV documentary called “The Oldest Tasmanians” (which a few in our party had seen) about the piners on the Gordon River. He was full of knowledge and we lapped it all up with relish. He proved to be not only modest and knowledgeable but very generous, offering us a couple of copies of his book and two crayfish (lobsters) from the freezer. This was a fantastic act of generosity.

Day 6

Lesson from the Day: Similar to Day 5 but substitute large red cray boat for campsite inhabitants.

We woke to the amplified sounds of the runabouts from Garry’s boat, as they made their way up the narrow cliff lined section of the river. Like us, Garry’s party was hoping to make the Franklin. It wasn’t long before we were following in their wake taking in the vegetation that adorned the rock faces and the waterfalls trickling among them. The river was about a meter lower than when Helen and I were here in 2003 and I was anxious to see how this would impact on the rapids further up. It was hard paddling against the flow and with some group spread we rounded a bend to find Keith and Dick pulled up on the river bank below the first rapid, the Big Eddy. From the state of the rapid and a quick reconnoitre of the river bank, it was soon obvious that this would be as far as we would get and that we wouldn’t be able to reach the Franklin. I don’t think the runabouts would have had any problem getting up this rough water and we were envious of the thought they were probably already enjoying the lower reaches of the Franklin. The old piners would have rowed up this rapid or pulled their manoeuvrable punts up by rope with no problem, but for us, the risk of capsize in our long kayaks was too high.

On our last visit Helen and I were able to get up the Big Eddy only to be stopped by the next rapid at Franklin Rock. So we weren’t that concerned the second time round, having dealt somewhat with the disappointment before, but for some others in the group it was a hard pill to swallow. We turned around for a quick ride with the flow back down river to the Gordon Camp, loaded the boats and headed for Eagle Creek Camp once more.

We made Snag Point in good time and took in the sunshine and majestic surroundings while tucking into a lobster lunch in honour of Keith’s birthday. Once along Limekiln Reach and thanks to Garry’s directions, we soon located the track that lead to the two lime kilns in the forest. The kilns were impressive in their size and there was still some limestone piled along side ready for firing. The kilns supplied the lime for the mortar to build the settlement on Sarah Island and to improve the soil for farming. A small party of convicts worked the kilns under the supervision of armed guards. The guards lived in a hut on the opposite side of the river and would row across each day with provisions. At one stage the convicts overpowered the guards and took off up river in the boat, but I could find no further reference to their eventual fate. Today it’s hard to imagine how people could have worked and lived in such an environment.

We landed at Eagle Creek Camp to find it already occupied by two kayakers. Jeff Jennings and his partner Lin had caught the ferry up from Strahan and were making their way to Gordon Camp. Despite our group gate crashing their camping solitude, we had a great night swapping stories and talking kayaks and paddling. Jeff’s impressive Rockpool sea kayak that he had shipped over from Wales was the centre of attention and discussion. It turns out Jeff was one of the photographers for Justine Curgenven’s all female circumnavigation of Tasmania by sea kayak that was included in the DVD This Is The Sea 3.

Day 7

Lesson from the Day: Black Tiger Snakes swimming in dark water are very hard to see from water level.

Day 7 saw us leaving the Gordon River and back out into Macquarie Harbour. We were heading for Kelly’s Basin and the old mining town of East Pillinger. East Pillinger was established in the late 1800s and served as a thriving centre for the ore mining industry. The town slowly declined and Strahan eventually took over as the main centre for industry on the harbour with the last permanent resident of East Pillinger leaving in 1943. There are a few interesting relics and ruins still to be found amongst the now re-grown forest.

The weathered pylons of the old jetty marked the spot where the township once stood and we arrived tired and cold after some tricky paddling and sailing, milking the most from the abeam wind and waves. It’s here I think the sprit type sails may have some advantage over the V-shaped sails as you may be able to get a more efficient trim when conditions are from abeam. The hard paddling may have influenced the somewhat erratic decision-making that followed. We landed at East Pillinger on a small rocky beach, but failed to notice the access track that we later realised lay only a couple of metres inland from our landing spot. After some fruitless bush bashing along the shoreline trying to find the access track, we decided to take to the water once more and have a look at West Pillinger for a likely camp site. We crossed the basin against a strong wind to find a maintenance crew working on the hut. So camping was not an option there. While we chatted to the maintenance workers who were on the jetty, one nonchalantly pointed to a large Tiger snake that was busy trying to climb on board Dick’s boat. Dick did a hasty back paddle and the snake took to the jetty instead, which made the workers gathered there slightly more animated.

We crossed the basin once again to East Pillinger and this time landed at a jetty where a large luxury motor cruiser was moored. Those that weren’t able to find room to tie up at the jetty landed amongst the thick shoreline vegetation and rocks which sparked much grumbling and groaning as we struggled with the heavy boats. When the possibility of encountering Tiger snakes amongst the vegetation was raised, it was remarked that in the current climate if one was seen it was more likely to be bitten by one of the group than the other way round.

We all climbed the jetty to find the access track to the camp ground, and further along we found the crew of the motor cruiser (complete in white navy style uniforms) busy pulling down a marquee. They informed us that if we had been a half hour earlier we could have dined on the catered leftovers from a tourist group. More grumbles followed. The boat skipper informed us that a southerly front was forecast for the next day and things could get rough on the harbour. He said we should aim to get past Sophia Point if possible before conditions deteriorated too much, as the long fetch of the harbour generated sizable waves around the area. He wasn’t sure how we would go rounding the point “in those things”, nodding towards the kayaks.

We sussed out camping spots further up the track and stumbled onto the tourist group sipping champers amongst the trees. Not sure who got the bigger surprise as we hastily exchanged pleasantries and moved on. The only real camping option was to pitch the tents on the wooden platform that formed the base for the tourist marquee. We waved goodbye to the motor cruiser and its passengers and, as the sun set, we did the rounds of the remaining ruins of the town. On getting back to camp it started to rain and we soon had a marquee of our own, a little less elegant but nonetheless effective, hoisted above the picnic table. John had lugged the blue plastic tarp on his back deck the whole trip and was glad to finally put it to its anticipated use. We cooked tea with storm jackets shielding us from the cool wind and rain drumming on the tarp. It was strangely comforting to be in true Tassie weather at long last.

Day 8

Lesson from the Day: .Same as Day 7 but substitute Black Tiger Snakes for dark rocks.

With the words of the Skipper from the motor cruiser still fresh in our minds it was an early launch for Day 8. The rain had stopped but the wind was driving down the basin directly against us and it took some time to clear the point and get into the harbour proper where the strong SE winds were already at work stirring things up. This meant mostly following conditions, but Helen was having trouble with a kayak that insisted on poking its stern high in the air and yawing badly on the bigger waves. The way the boat was handling I suspected that there were problems with the weight distribution of her gear.

After a choppy crossing of Farm Cove we pulled into Gould Point navigating our way (some better than others) to the beach through the submerged rocks, with Sarah Island visible in the distance. We needed to establish how we were all travelling as this was a point of no return. If we decided to catch the ferry back to Strahan we would have to strike out now for Sarah Island to make the rendezvous. Any further and the conditions would make for a hard slog back to the Island, while ahead lay around 40km of harbour. Helen redistributed her water storage arrangements in an attempt to improve her boat’s trim and it was agreed we would paddle for another five minutes to suss out the conditions before making the final decision. The conditions around the point were much improved along with the behaviour of Helen’s boat and all thoughts of a Sarah Island rendezvous were quickly forgotten. What followed was a great morning’s paddle with variable conditions and fantastic scenery offering a truly classic Tassie backdrop of towering cloud-topped mountains.

It was not all smooth sailing. Keith ran hard aground on a rock seemingly in the middle of the harbour but not far from Philip’s Island. He was glad once more for leaving the fibreglass kayak at home and bringing the “plastic fantastic” along. But before the surprise of his predicament had fully worn off, a wave lifted him free once more. Not to be out done, on trying to land for lunch, Raylee came to grief on a rock and capsized. The rest of the group were some distance from her and there were some anxious moments as we watched her come up for air at least three times while trying to free a stubborn spray skirt. She wasn’t able to roll as it was too shallow but was able to push off the rocks to grab breaths of air and eventually free the spray skirt. Later Raylee reckoned the incident must have looked worse than it was, but she was cold, wet and a little shaken when we landed. The Kevlar hull of her boat also sported a sizable battle scar.

After lunch we made good time to Sophia Point. John spotted a penguin as he came round the point and we landed at the apex on a sheltered and very nice half-moon-shaped beach that would have made a great camp site. We had already covered around 28km and the conditions weren’t as bad as we had feared. We gathered on the point and watched with interest the course of a tourist ferry as it gave the mouth of the King River a wide berth and headed for Strahan. We had around 15km to go and the decision was made that instead of camping another night we would continue on while the conditions held.

What followed was an exhilarating ride under sail back to Strahan. This final leg was all noise, spray and movement as we blasted along with the following wind and waves. A fitting finale to what had been eight days and around 250km of great paddling and great company.

In Conclusion

The overall lesson learnt from the eight days was that Macquarie Harbour is a fantastic and iconic paddling destination, full of history and beauty and a must do for all sea kayakers.

As to sail types and performance, I sometimes felt the V-shaped sails had the advantage over the sprit sails on the downwind runs as they are configured in line with the boat’s hull and may maximise least resistance in this aspect. They are also easy to install without any need for deck reinforcement or lots of fittings. However they cannot be raised and furled like the sprit sails for ease of access to forward hatches, once raised they stay set. Also the sprit sail appeared more versatile being responsive to sudden changes in wind direction and gusts as they can spin on the mast to adjust to such forces. A criticism I have heard of the sprit sail is that they can often be caught by side swells and result in a possible capsize but the sails Helen and I have fitted are well clear of the deck and it would have to be a sizable side swell to catch them. It may be we just haven’t sailed in big enough swells to rightly test the theory but I’m not sure I want to.

In undertaking an extended paddle with others I have found group dynamics to be the biggest factor in dictating an enjoyable time or a disaster. The inevitable challenges faced on any extended trip can all be met if the group dynamics are good. Helen and I knew that our four paddling companions had previously paddled together extensively and that we would be the ones who would need to find our place in the group. Fortunately, from packing the boats on launch day to our return, the roles in the group came naturally: there was the experienced camping guru; the weather forecaster; the on-water decision maker; the morale maintainer and paddling coach and so on. All these roles were necessary to make the trip a success and were taken on without hesitation and fulfilled beautifully with acceptance by all. It was a great group to paddle with and made for a fantastic adventure. However I’m still trying to figure what my role in the group was, apart from the eager student of daily lessons to be learnt.

References:

  • Sarah Island the Penal Settlement at Macquarie Harbour 1831, The People Ships & Shipwrights, A guided Tour, New Edition, 2002. The Round Earth Company, Strahan, Tasmania.
  • Parks and Places, East Pillinger historic township, Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania.
  • The Huon Pine Story, A History of Harvest and Use of a Unique Timber, 2nd Edition 2004, Garry Kerr & Harry McDermott, Mainsail Books.
  • Macquarie Harbour Research, Volume 1 1984, Ian Brand.
  • For the Term of His Natural Life, Marcus Clarke, Originally published: Australian ed. London: R. Bentley and Son; Melbourne: G. Robertson & Co., 1888.

Further Reading:

  • Canoe Touring in Australia, Seven of the Country’s Best River Journeys 1993, Leigh Hemmings, Simon & Schuster, Australia
  • The Travails of Jimmy Porter, A Memoir, 2003, James Porter, The Round Earth Company, Strahan Tasmania. (The memoirs of the convict James Porter who was instrumental in the seizure of the Brig Frederick and the sailing of her to Chile).
  • Gould’s Book of Fish, A Novel in Twelve Fish, 2004, Richard Flanagan, Picador Pan Macmillan Australia. (A fictitious account of the experiences of William Buelow Gould who was in reality a convict artist who painted images of Sarah Island and its surrounding marine life).

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