Hi, I am posting this blog book about the melancholy fate of the barque Charles Eaton. I became fascinated with the story about 20 years ago and have been researching it off and on ever since. Admittedly there were fairly long periods when the research draft sat gathering dust in a drawer, while the original photocopies and print-outs turned yellow with age. Initially it was difficult to find fresh material on the subject, but with the advent of the Internet age the task has gotten a whole lot easier, largely thanks to our wonderful libraries in Australia. I would particularly like to thank the National Library of Australia and the State Library of Victoria for their superb online catalogue material. The State Library of New South Wales contributed the material for most of the earlier research and their resources continue to be invaluable.
Most of the research material has been acquired from excellent primary and contemporary sources, eye-witness accounts and the like. Where it has been possible to do so, I have aimed for corroboration from other relevant and reliable sources. It was a hard slog but by golly it was worth it. The journey alone has given me the kind of pleasure and satisfaction that most of you fellow researchers have experienced for yourselves.
The blog runs to about 85,000 words, which is typical for a non-fiction book, so you might want to dip in and out. That’s okay, I do it all the time myself. Most of the images are part of my own collection, purchased over the aforementioned 20 years. The remainder were acquired from Wikimedia Commons and are in the public arena. Collecting antique lithographs and watercolours is a hobby that I inadvertently acquired along the way and that has been a separate joy on its own. One of the side benefits of being a bit of a history enthusiast, I guess.
I have been amazed at the large number of international readers that the blog continues to attract. Ninety nations are represented on my reader’s list to date and that’s pretty cool. Clearly nautical history is a genre with no language boundaries, especially when Bing and Google do the translating for you.
While researching the material for this blog I stumbled across a number of fascinating stories from Australia’s past that have been either completely forgotten or have been buried for a very long time. I hope over the next year or two to give at least some of them the decent and detailed airing they deserve. I can promise you that I will try to give them my best shot. If you are looking for a couple of shrugs and a paragraph or two, you have landed on the wrong blog. First ‘cab off the rank’ is the story of the Murphys. Even without their obvious link to the novel Oliver Twist they are a fascinating duo for history buffs. Not planning to labour the point though, lest I get hit over the head by a brickbat-wielding Dickens devotee.
It is never possible to draw a line in the sand where history research is concerned. If you have some additional information or corrections that you think I might like (and I will!) I would love to hear from you. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org