Mari Nawi

Aboriginal Odysseys

By Keith Vincent Smith

This book reveals the significant role Aboriginal men and women played in Australia's early maritime history. Its focus is the Indigenous people who sailed on English ships through Port Jackson to destinations throughout the world in the period 1790-1850. Theirs was a canoe culture and they called the foreign ships mari nawi, meaning 'large canoes.' With remarkable resilience, they became guides, go-betweens, boatmen, sailors, sealers, steersmen, whalers, pilots, and trackers - valued for their skills and knowledge. Some, such as Musquito, Bulldog, and Dual, were exiled as Aboriginal 'convicts.' These seafarers faced cruel seas, winds, and currents. Some survived shipwrecks or were marooned for months without supplies on isolated islands. They sailed the Australian coast to sealing and whaling grounds in Bass Strait, to the icy sub-Antarctic and New Zealand, and to international destinations like Timor, Mauritius, Bengal, Britain, Canada, Hawaii, Tahiti, San Francisco, and Rio de Janeiro. Mari Nawi: Aboriginal Odysseys is illustrated with rarely seen portraits, landscapes, and ship images by English, French, and Russian artists. The book is based on previously unpublished sources, such as ship's musters, logs, journals, dispatches, and shipping records.

216 pages

Publication Date: 7/22/2010
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781921719004