On 27 July 1836 Robert Clark Morgan landed nine adults and four children from the whaling ship Duke of York on an island wilderness off the coast of southern Australia. They were the first official settlers of South Australia. Soon, other newcomers joined these people, but the little Kangaroo Island settlement quickly descended into disorder. Eight weeks after arriving at the island, Robert Morgan departed for the whaling grounds of the Pacific. He faced the dangers of the whale hunt and a convict-led attack upon his ship. Then, early one morning, the Duke of York struck a reef. Not all who scrambled into the boats returned to safety. The tale of Robert Morgan, master of the Duke of York, and the ordeal suffered by his crew following shipwreck, is told by Dorothy M. Heinrich.
Dorothy Heinrich is a dynamic author who resides in Adelaide, South Australia.
In her previous working life she has been an academic, lecturing and tutoring for many years in human physiology and pathophysiology.
During that time and since, an interest in people and other cultures has led her on journeys with her husband to diverse places, from China and countries of south-east Asia to continental Europe and Iceland, a note-book and camera always in her luggage.
It was an interest in genealogy, however, which led Dorothy on journeys of a different kind - voyages of discovery into the past.
On one branch of her family tree there are two runaway sailors. One was a twenty year old deckhand who jumped ship in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land. This was a most fortuitous act. Eleven months later, the whaling vessel on which her great-great grandfather had been travelling struck a reef and sank.
The other runaway sailor in her family was a young Norwegian from Kristiansand. He deserted his ship, and met and married a sixteen year old girl. Five years later, this great grandfather died a lonely death in the South Australian outback.
The stories of both of these men appear in a family history which Dorothy wrote and published in 2006. ‘Ada’s Story: From the Brands to the Brentsons’ won the South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society’s T. T. Reed Award in 2007.
It was the former of these two runaway sailors, however, who later led her to uncover an even more intriguing tale – the story of the captain and ship which her forebear had deserted in Hobart Town in 1836. Research into the fate of that vessel’s captain, Robert Clark Morgan, and the last voyage of the Duke of York, resulted in another book, titled:
‘The Man Who Hunted Whales: A tale of Kangaroo Island and a doomed ship’.
Dorothy's book can be purchased from Digital Print Australia, 135 Gilles Street, Adelaide, South Australia
For online sales, visit their website.
The book can also be purchased from:
Dymocks Book Sellers, 135 Rundle Mall, Adelaide, South Australia. Contact them.
or directly from Dorothy Heinrich herself, using the contact form below.
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