Yarns for Davy Jones. New Zealand, John Parkinson, Jr.
Yarns for Davy Jones
Yarns for Davy Jones
Yarns for Davy Jones


Yarns for Davy Jones.

np: Privately printed for the author, 1966.

First edition. Frontispiece & 16 full page illustrations. [viii], 146 pp. 1 vols. 8vo. AN EARLY REPORT ON KIWI HERMIT TOM NEALE. Fine. Original red buckram, spine and upper board gilt. Presentation inscription to front free endpaper, TLS laid down to rear free endpaper. Item #303154

Inscribed to Percy Chubb by the author, Parkinson has also signed his name to the title-page. The TLS dated, March 29, 1970 concerns sailing matters relating to his crossing of the Atlantic.

Parkinson spent a good deal of his life at sea and relates numerous anecdotes here, including some from serving in the Pacific in the closing stages of World War Two and another witnessing the atomic tests at Bikini Atoll. Of special interest is the chapter devoted to Surrarow Island, which came as part of a cruise he made with his wife and others in 1963. The schooner Westward was completing a circumnavigation and they joined her at Tahiti before proceding to Bora Bora and then laying a course for American Samoa.

Suvarov (Suwarrow) Island was discovered in 1814 by Mikhail Lazarev. It is half a mile long and 400 yards wide with one of the finest lagoons in the South Pacific. Parkinson spent three days there in 1963 with his wife and Mr and Mrs Drayton Cochrane who were circumnavigating in stages on the Westward.

Parkinson and his crew were surprised to find the island was inhabited. Unknown to all but very few people, Tom Neale, the New Zealand sailor and survivalist, had been living on the island since 1960 and "it was not surprising he talked almost incessantly, chiefly about his experiences on Suvarov." It transpired that this was his second stint on the island, having previously lived there 1952-4. In between visits "he married a Tongan woman and had two children but" Parkinson states, "his return to Suvarov without her is not unusual by South Pacific standards." He remained on the island until 1964. Parkinson's description of their encounter with Neale is one of great admiration and fascination and accordingly filled with details of his life and notes the people who'd visited him over the years.

This is one of the earliest reports on Neale, published in the same year as Neale's autobiography. Royalties from Neale's book funded his final and longest stay on Suwarrow (1967-77) and only illness forced him to leave. Neale was born in Wellington, in 1902 though moved to Greymouth and then Timaru as a child. He joined the New Zealand navy as an apprentice engineer though bought himself out after four years and commenced his peripatetic life.

Rare. OCLC locates just five copies.

Price: $750.00 Free International Delivery