College Of Arts And Sciences | Telling Tales Downunder
E103 | 0047 | Lloyd


In 1836, a ship called "The Stirling Castle" was wrecked off the coast
of Queensland, Australia, at a stage when the nearest white settlement
was the infamous penal colony of Moreton Bay. The captain's wife, Eliza
Fraser, together with the crew, reached a large sand island now named
Fraser Island. There, according to Eliza, the crew were killed by Aboriginals,
while she herself was taken on as a slave. Eventually the tribe crossed to
the mainland, giving Eliza to another tribe at a corroborree. Here she met
an escaped convict, who had been accepted by one of the women of the tribe as
the white ghost of her dead husband. He helped her escape and led her back to
the penal colony, where she was meant to plead for mercy for him. He took
fright and fled back into the bush, eventually returning to tell his version
of the tale. Eliza told 3 versions at least of her story, giving it as a
performance in fairs in London. Numerous versions of the story exist, in
literature, in ballads, in art, in music, and in theater. A film was made of
the story, but the rights have been sold to Hollywood and the video has not
been released. We will explore various versions of this story, and make our
own, in an attempt to judge the truth.

Required Reading:  Patrick White, A Fringe of Leaves; David Malouf,
Remembering Babylon; and a class packet. Students will also be expected
to use the web site www.indiana.edu/~herstory

Assignments: two essays (including outline, first draft, and any necessary
rewrites), a class presentation, at least two contributions to on-line class
discussions, and a version of the story in any form that you choose (painting,
poem, play, series of photographs, musical composition, short story, ballet,
web site etc). The final exam will consist of an analysis of a passage, and
an essay.