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The Last Kanaka

Jim Brigginshaw

When Arthur and Sarah Cunningham and their two children set sail for the far shores of Australia, they have no idea what is ahead of them. The journey itself would be challenging enough, but the deprivations of the long sea passage from Plymouth start to pale into insignificance when they find themselves marooned on a quarantine island off the coast of the promised land.

After tragedy strikes, not once but twice, Sarah and her children, Davy and Emma, struggle to find a way to pursue their dreams of a better life in the harsh streets of Brisbane.

Davy discovers an affinity for the sea and starts to reap the rewards from the abundant fish stocks along the Great Barrier Reef. During a sickening incident, he discovers the truth about 'blackbirding' - a licenced activity that covers up the horrific trade in slave labour to the sugarcane fields. Davy is determined to right these terrible wrongs, and bring justice to his friends, the kanakas, even at the risk of his own life...

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Jim Brigginshaw is a partly-retired former newspaper editor who, among other recognition, holds Australia's most prestigious journalism award, a Walkley, and was placed second as Australian Journalist of the Year. He writes a humorous newspaper column that has appeared more than four thousand times. The Last Kanaka is his fourteenth book. His short stories have won recognition in most Australian states. He writes from Alstonville, a small village on the plateau above the New South Wales north coast.