Elaine Forrestal

Even in Paris Black Jack Anderson can find me

Never trust a pirate.

Clearly Black Jack Ander­son has not fin­ished with me yet.

After two other recent con­tacts in Aus­tralia, one from doc­u­men­tary mak­ers and one from a radio sta­tion, Black Jack Ander­son has man­aged to track me down to Paris! I am here with some fam­ily mem­bers, essen­tially for the Fete de la Musique but stay­ing on to check out the amaz­ing gal­leries, restau­rants, mar­kets and boulan­geries. I am also doing some work, which is made easy by the inter­net and the well-equipped apart­ment we stay in on the Place Vauban.

The lat­est expres­sion of inter­est has come from Great South­ern Film and Tele­vi­sion who are mak­ing a third series of Coast Aus­tralia,  fol­low­ing their suc­cess in Eng­land. So keep your eyes open and check out the pro­gram­ming for Foxtel’s His­tory Chan­nel early next year. In typ­i­cal pirate fash­ion You just never know where Black Jack Ander­son will pop up next.

2016 Tim Winton Awards

Young writ­ers devel­op­ing their story ideas with Elaine Forrestal.

It’s that time of year again. The time when our tal­ented young writ­ers set­tle down at their desks or key­boards and write, write, write.

Once they have a story — a first draft — they will read it, then re-write it. Not just once but many times as they find the voices of their char­ac­ters, make adjust­ments to their plots and pol­ish up their spelling, gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion. They will think about a title for their work and about how best to present it. If they are typ­ing their story they may add dif­fer­ent fonts and dec­o­ra­tions — although that is not what the judges of the com­pe­ti­tion will be look­ing for. The judges will focus on orig­i­nal­ity, con­trol of lan­guage and whether or not the story is con­vinc­ing enough to trans­port them to that other time and place — the world of the story. Judges are some­times heavy. The story has to be strong enough to lift them. A strong story requires a lot of thought­ful con­cen­tra­tion, patience and deter­mi­na­tion. But a prize win­ning story will def­i­nitely be worth the effort.

Sadly, here in WA, we no longer have the Young Writer’s Com­pe­ti­tion. Until two years ago it was the longest run­ning com­pe­ti­tion of its kind in Aus­tralia. How­ever we do still have the Tim Win­ton Awards which have recently expanded to cover the whole State and have been going from strength to strength.

Entries for the annual Tim Win­ton Awards close on the 4th July so hurry up and get your story into the best pos­si­ble shape. When you are happy with it, ask your school, or Com­mu­nity Librar­ian for an entry form, fill it out and attach it to your story. Then send the whole lot in to the Subi­aco Library. Who knows? With imag­i­na­tion and hard work you might one day become as famous, and suc­cess­ful, as Tim Win­ton himself.

Happy writ­ing!

Black Jack Anderson has resurfaced

Elaine For­re­stal and Pre­mier Alan Car­pen­ter at the launch of Black Jack Anderson

Hav­ing thought that Black Jack Ander­son had sailed away for good, here he is again! True to form, I must admit, since he has a habit of dis­ap­pear­ing ‘with the speed of the west­erly breeze’ and lying low some­where for long peri­ods of time.

After an arti­cle was writ­ten about him in 1846, he man­aged to drop out of sight until the 1950s. Dur­ing the late 1950s and early 1960s sev­eral arti­cles about him were pub­lished in news­pa­pers and the book, Esper­ance, Yes­ter­day and Today. But our elu­sive pirate escaped again until I dis­cov­ered him lurk­ing in the Fre­man­tle Mar­itime Museum’s whal­ing exhibit. He obvi­ously thought he was safe from dis­cov­ery with only the briefest of men­tions on an obscure video record­ing of sto­ries from the long aban­doned Cheynes Beach Whal­ing Sta­tion, but I was on to him. I pur­sued him through the archives of the Bat­tye Library and the Albany Cour­t­house Records. I even made the 3 hour boat trip from Esper­ance to Mid­dle Island to see where he and his crew of pirates had had their hide­out in the 1820s and 30s.

It was not until 2008 that my  book, Black Jack Ander­son, was launched by the then Pre­mier of West­ern Aus­tralia, Alan Car­pen­ter. A flurry of activ­i­ties fol­lowed. The reviews came in thick and fast and I did an author tour, speak­ing in Ade­laide and Mel­bourne ini­tially, then in lots of places in West­ern Aus­tralia. In 2013 his story was pro­duced on stage as part of the Fes­ti­val of the Wind in Esper­ance. Directed by Luke Rob­son, stu­dents from Esper­ance Senior High School played all the char­ac­ters while I nar­rated the story using excerpts from the orig­i­nal Pen­guin edi­tion of the book.

Three years have elapsed since then and, although I have pre­sented work­shops in schools, Black Jack Ander­son has been pretty quiet. How­ever, he has now been redis­cov­ered by two young film-makers and we have high hopes of flush­ing him out of hid­ing once more, so that we can tell his remark­able story to a new audience.

Fin­gers crossed.

70 Years of the CBCA

Cov­ers of books by Elaine For­re­stal which have won, or been short­listed, for var­i­ous Awards, includ­ing the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers.

The Children’s Book Coun­cil of Aus­tralia is cel­e­brat­ing 70 years of sup­port, pro­mo­tion, nur­tur­ing and rewards for the writ­ers and illus­tra­tors of Aus­tralian children’s books.

Since the first ever CBCA Award — a sin­gle white camel­lia — was pre­sented to Leslie Rees in 1946, the children’s book pub­lish­ing indus­try has grown and devel­oped until today it con­tributes around $11billion annu­ally to the Aus­tralian econ­omy. Over the years many now famous writ­ers and illus­tra­tors have had their careers kick-started by the pub­lic expo­sure of their work on the annual  CBCA Short­list. Being cho­sen as a win­ner in one of the five cat­e­gories that exist now is an even big­ger boost. How­ever, the fact that just being on the Short­list is enough to make a huge dif­fer­ence  to the sales of those titles shows how highly regarded the Awards are, both here and overseas.

The CBCA, run largely by vol­un­teers, has also grown. Instead of the white camel­lia, it now pro­vides sub­stan­tial cash prizes. It has also become inde­pen­dent of cor­po­rate spon­sors and has set up it’s own Foun­da­tion to fund the Awards in per­pe­tu­ity. The incred­i­ble hard work and for­ward think­ing that went into set­ting up this Foun­da­tion is some­times unfairly held against the organ­i­sa­tion when it occa­sion­ally seeks the sup­port of the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for one-off pro­grams, like the recent 70th Anniver­sary Con­fer­ence. But, with typ­i­cal courage and even more hard work, the Con­fer­ence went ahead any­way, albeit on a slightly reduced scale.

Bravo, CBCA!

Happy 70th Birth­day and ‘may you bloom and grow forever’.

Discovery of Baudin’s Journal

Cover of Reflec­tions on New South Wales 1788–1839, by Louis de Freycinet, trans­lated by Tom Cullity

Much has been writ­ten about the French pres­ence off the coast of Aus­tralia in the late 16th and early 17th cen­tury. Our coast­line car­ries a per­ma­nent record of vis­its by La Parouse, Per­ron, Baudin, de Freycinet and oth­ers. Per­haps the best known of these French explor­ers and nav­i­ga­tors is Baudin, mainly because of his well doc­u­mented meet­ing with Matthew Flinders at Encounter Bay in the Great Aus­tralian Bight. A meet­ing which lead directly to the pub­li­ca­tion of the first com­plete map of Aus­tralia by Louis de Freycinet in 1811. The fairly recent dis­cov­ery of Baudin’s Jour­nal from the voy­age (1800–1804) is excit­ing news for fol­low­ers of the Rose de Freycinet story, in par­tic­u­lar, and early French explo­ration of Aus­tralia in general.

Louis de Freycinet (who would later marry Rose) was a young lieu­tenant under Baudin’s com­mand on board the Nat­u­ral­iste at the begin­ning of the voy­age in 1800, and had risen to com­man­der of the Casua­r­ina by 1803The Casua­r­ina was pur­chased by Baudin in Syd­ney to replace the Nat­u­ral­iste, which he had sent home to France with most of the botan­i­cal spec­i­mens and sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies on board, while the Geo­graphe and the Casua­r­ina con­tin­ued with their map­ping and sur­vey­ing. It was in this lat­ter part of the voy­age that the meet­ing between the French and the Eng­lish ships took place. In spite of recent hos­til­i­ties between Eng­land and France the meet­ing was friendly and pro­duc­tive. Louis de Freycinet, being Baudin’s chief sur­veyor and nav­i­ga­tor by then, exchanged mate­r­ial with Flinders and the three ships went their sep­a­rate ways.

Even­tu­ally, after the death of Baudin and the impris­on­ment of Flinders on Mau­ri­tius, it fell to Louis de Freycinet to com­plete the offi­cial report of Baudin’s voy­age for the French gov­ern­ment, who had financed it. In his report, which was pub­lished in 1811, the first com­plete map of Aus­tralia appeared. In spite of his report receiv­ing praise from all quar­ters, Louis still felt he had unfin­ished busi­ness in Aus­tralia, espe­cially in and around Shark Bay on the north coast of West­ern Aus­tralia. He per­suaded the French Navy to sup­ply him with a ship and set off in 1817 to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the world, with Shark Bay firmly in his sights. It was on this voy­age that the newly mar­ried Rose made her mark on history.

Check out the whole story of the voy­age of the Uranie (1817–1820) in To See the World.