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John MacGillivray
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850..

(Footnote.  On his return, Lieutenant Yule reported that the boats of an American whaler, lost on the Alert Reef (outside the Barrier) had reached Booby Island, and the crews had been saved from starvation by the depot of provisions there.  That this supply will be renewed from time to time is most likely, as the Legislative Council of New South Wales, last year, voted the sum of 50 pounds for provisions to be left on Booby Island for the use of shipwrecked people.)

October 1st.

We had a fine breeze and pleasant weather, and in the afternoon reached our former anchorage in Evans Bay, Cape York, and moored ship in seven fathoms.  A party was immediately sent to examine the waterholes, which promised, after a little clearing out, as abundant a supply as they afforded us last year.  We met some of the natives who came down to the rocks as the boat landed, and among them I saw many old acquaintances who joyfully greeted us.


Rescue a white Woman from Captivity among the Natives. 
Her History. 
Bramble and boats complete the Survey of Torres Strait. 
Wini and the Mulgrave Islanders. 
Intercourse with the Cape York Natives. 
Nearly quarrel with them at a night dance. 
Witness a Native fight. 
Discover some fine country. 
Incidents of our stay. 
Many new Birds found. 
Remarks on the Climate, etc. of Cape York.

On the day after our arrival at Cape York the vessel from Sydney with our supplies anchored beside us, and besides provisions and stores, we had the additional pleasure of receiving five months’ news from home.


On October 16th, a startling incident occurred to break the monotony of our stay.  In the afternoon some of our people on shore were surprised to see a young white woman come up to claim their protection from a party of natives from whom she had recently made her escape, and who, she thought, would otherwise bring her back.  Of course she received every attention, and was taken on board the ship by the first boat, when she told her story, which is briefly as follows.  Her name is Barbara Thomson:  she was born at Aberdeen in Scotland, and along with her parents, emigrated to New South Wales.  About four years and a half ago she left Moreton Bay with her husband in a small cutter (called the America) of which he was owner, for the purpose of picking up some of the oil from the wreck of a whaler, lost on the Bampton Shoal, to which place one of her late crew undertook to guide them; their ultimate intention was to go on to Port Essington.  The man who acted as pilot was unable to find the wreck, and after much quarrelling on board in consequence, and the loss of two men by drowning, and of another who was left upon a small uninhabited island, they made their way up to Torres Strait, where, during a gale of wind, their vessel struck upon a

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