Heart of a Beast – Book Shower 7th December, 2012

A glorious twilight broke over Adelaide, South Australia on Friday, December 7th, 2012 as my family and friends gathered at the Stonyfell Winery in the Adelaide foothills. It was here, in The Cellar Door, that my publisher, Dr. Scott Zarcinas, and I introduced my debut novel, Heart of a Beast, to the world in fine fashion.

220Excellent wine and much laughter filled the historical wine cellar all evening. I could not believe that so many people had taken time out of their busy Christmas schedules to help me celebrate.  I must say I felt very honoured.

Thanks so very much to everybody who came and to those who bought my novel on the night. I had writer’s cramp by the end of the evening – signing all those copies! I felt quite the celebrity.

By the way – if you enjoy reading Heart of a Beast please, please tell the world – shout it from the rooftops – or – in a more sedate fashion – take a moment, if you can, to add a review on amazon, goodreads, or google books.  I would really, really appreciate it.

For those of you who were not able to be there I wouldn’t want you to think you had missed out on anything, so here’s a copy of my book launch speech for you to enjoy:

Hello everyone.

Thank you all so much to you for taking time out of your busy schedules to help me celebrate the birth of Heart of a Beast. I cannot believe how many of you have come. My sisters Belinda and Leanne and her husband Greg even flew over from Sydney to be here on this special night. My sister Margaret was very disappointed that at the very last minute she couldn’t join us. And luckily Michael already lives here.

Isn’t this a great place for a book launch? (Lots of oohs and ahhs!) Thank you to the management and staff of the Stonyfell winery for allowing us to celebrate here tonight.

As most of you know I now live in Queensland so you might be wondering why my book shower is being held here in South Australia.

There are two very good reasons.

My publisher, Dr. Scott Zarcinas, introducing Heart of a Beast

My publisher, Dr. Scott Zarcinas, introducing Heart of a Beast

Firstly, my publisher doctorzed is based in Adelaide but even more importantly my roots and family are in South Australia. I often call myself a South Australian in exile! Mind you it’s a very comfortable exile – “beautiful one day, perfect the next!” as they say up there in Queensland. Nothing like the abysmal exile my characters are living through in Heart of a Beast.

Looking around tonight I can’t help but think it looks bit like a Morrissey family reunion; so many cousins who I have not seen in years are here. I had actually toyed with the idea of being published under my maiden name, Josephine Morrissey. Why you might ask. I worked for a while at the Victoria Point library and as I was filing books on shelves I realised that if I did use the pen name Josephine Morrissey I would be filed there right next to best-selling Australian Author, Di Morrissey – what do they say? – fame by association!

I am very glad that I was convinced to publish under my married name Josephine de Moor. I am told it looks and sounds like a best-selling author’s name.

Years ago, long before I ever contemplated being a writer, I read a book written by Wilbur Smith, River God and then its sequel Red Sea Scrolls, yes, for those of you who have read it – there is a third in the series but its name escapes me. So convinced was I that the characters were real people, that I spent many hours researching them in the State Library of South Australia but to no avail. They were completely fictitious. I told myself then if I was ever going to write a book I would want to write characters that seemed so alive that my readers would try to research them. Low and behold my very first review (5 stars mind you) on Amazon said exactly that!

“It is a story of love and betrayal, so believable that I was tempted to try and research the people involved.”

I could not believe it. I had done what I set out to achieve.

I am hoping you all have, or will, read Heart of a Beast. By the way there are bouncers at the door and you won’t be allowed to leave without a copy of my novel under your arm – and if you are really nice I might even sign it for you – that should help the value go up (Ha Ha)

Anyway I thought I might tell you a little of the background to the story and just how Heart of a Beast came to be.

My novel Heart of a Beast is set during the time that is known as the second settlement (1825 – 1855). This was the latter of the two penal settlements to be established on Norfolk Island. It was determined that it was to be a place of extreme punishment, punishment only short of death.

It was a place where it was rumoured Satan never slept.

“Let a man’s heart be what it will when he comes here, his Man’s heart is taken from him, and he is given the heart of a Beast.” Robert Douglas – convict, Norfolk Island, 1834

With this in mind, I could think of no better title for my novel than Heart of a Beast.

Me speaking about Heart of a Beast

Me speaking about Heart of a Beast

I have been fascinated by Norfolk Island for as long as I can remember. I have no idea why, must have been a very good history teacher who got me hooked and although I have traced my own family history back into the 1500s we have no convicts! And I am fascinated by Australia’s royalty. So I had to research other people’s convicts and of course the penal settlements they were held in.For our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary Rob and I decided to finally visit the island and I can you that it is indeed a paradise well worth visiting. Norfolk Island is a picturesque, peaceful place now – but it was not always so.

A guided tour of the convict ruins in Kingston very quickly initiates you into the hell on earth the second convict settlement must have been.

It was during one of these tours that the characters of Heart of a Beast began to torment me. Although I was part of a crowded guided tour of the Pentagonal Prison on Norfolk Island, I suddenly felt completely alone. I found myself staring at the crumbling stone ruins of a cell and inexplicable tears filled my eyes.

From that moment on three very insistent characters began to haunt my dreams, and yes my every waking moment. One was a convict, one a soldier and one a young lady.

221And although until then writing a novel had been the last thing on my mind these apparitions convinced me to write their story.

The convict named himself in my dreams that first night, Michael Hanlan. It was a name I had never heard before. He felt so alive and I could see him so vividly that I spent many months trawling convict websites to see if I could find him. So convinced was I that he existed that I went down to Sydney from Brisbane to visit the Mitchell Library and spent hours staring at microfilmed records of convict arrivals and other registers for Norfolk Island but all to no avail.

Unfortunately the other two characters were not quite so obliging.

Lieutenant Edmund Thornton was a name I made up. It actually changed a few times during the course of writing the novel. It was a name that had to rhyme with another (you’ll find out why when you read Heart of a Beast). After much deliberation I decided to name him Edmund Thornton. My research told me that Her Majesty’s Eleventh Regiment of Foot was serving on Norfolk Island during the time of Heart of a Beast and so he became Lieutenant Edmund Thornton of the Eleventh Regiment.

Imagine my surprise when, during my most recent visit to Norfolk Island, my girlfriend, Karen, and I were traipsing through the Norfolk Island Colonial Cemetery when we came upon this tombstone:

Norfolk Island Colonial Era Cemetery Grave number 40

Beneath this stone are deposited the remains of Michael Mansfield Pt in the HM XI Reg of Infantry who died September 13 1847 from the effects of a fall from his horse the 22 year of his age.

This stone was erected by Wm H Thornton Cap of his company as a small mark of his regret for a good and promising young soldier.

I could not believe that there really was an officer serving in Her Majesty’s Eleventh Regiment of Foot with the surname of THORNTON stationed on Norfolk Island exactly the year and only the month before Heart of a Beast begins – spooky! And yes I have researched him too. It seems he too, may have settled in Queensland and lived a long and prosperous life.

While I was trying to decide upon a name for my heroine, my own family history research led me to discover that one of my great, great, great grandfathers had been murdered in Cheshire, England in 1840. The newspapers of the time reported the crime in great detail including that he had left behind a heavily pregnant wife and five children. Subsequent news articles reported that within a month of the murder his wife had given birth to a son (and just as an aside that son lived to a ripe old age) – and then it was reported that she had died of a broken heart only five months later. I thought it only fitting to give my heroine her name, Sarah Henshall. I believe she must have been a very special woman who loved her man with all her heart. I think there might be a novel in that but it remains to be seen

Of course, as all books say, all my characters are completely fictional and any resemblance to anyone living or dead is completely coincidental!

Signing Heart of a Beast

Book signing

Now for the Oscar bit – hope somebody has the music ready to send me off the stage?

First and foremost I would like to thank my long-suffering husband, Robin, for believing in me even when I didn’t.

A very big thank you must go to my dear friends, Karen Sessa and Christine Smith, my auntie, Margaret, my sisters, Leanne and Belinda, and my daughter, Katrina for proof reading and sharing their many valuable suggestions with me.

And I can’t forget Karen’s husband Ercole Sessa for his wonderful culinary skills that helped Karen and me through many a rough day.

My sister Margaret and her daughter Imogen were very quick to offer their assistance to introduce me into the confusing world of social media. They took a complete novice under their wing and helped me to publish a blog on-line so that I could let everyone out there in cyber space know all about Heart of a Beast. If you have not seen it, take a look, there is a great book trailer designed by Imogen. The web address is on my card. You can follow all the news by joining the blog.

Thanks also to Louise Cusack, author of romantic fantasy, for mentoring me through the early stages of writing this novel and to the members of The MacLeay Island Writers Group for their fresh perspective on my work.

I really must thank all the tour guides on Norfolk Island, who unbeknown to them, helped me with my background research and to the authors of the many reference books written about the second settlement – too many to name individually. I would also like to acknowledge those convicts who lived through these harrowing times and shared their experiences with us through diaries including Martin Cash, John Knatchbull and John F Mortlock.

My heartfelt gratitude goes to Dr. Scott Zarcinas for taking a chance with Heart of a Beastand editing it so brilliantly and to his new recruit, Kerri, who is helping to publicise my book.

Finally, how to thank my wonderful parents? How to put into words how much your support and encouragement has meant to me. All I can say is I love you mum and dad, as my own granddaughter, Gracie-Jean, would say – this much!

Number 10 Military Road, Kings Town (now Quality Row, Kingston) Norfolk Island

“Mrs. Forsyth had admired the neat row of quaint houses just across from Government House the day before. She was most pleased when the carriage halted at the gate of her new home, a charming stone residence with wide verandas on three sides and well laid out gardens.”

No 10 Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

No 10 Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

Mrs. Forsyth was of course speaking of Number 10 Military Road, (now Number 10 Quality Row). I personally believe that a visit to Norfolk Island is not complete without exploring this unique house, now well-preserved as a “time capsule” depicting the life of the civilian population on the island. Built in 1844, it is a home with no running water, no electricity, and no telephone. To walk through its doors is like walking back into a simpler time, a time when ladies sat on their verandas doing needlework and entertaining guests,  completely sheltered from the horrors of the penal settlement only a short distance away.

The well in the garden of Number 10 Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

The well in the garden of Number 10 Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

The gardens, too, have been well maintained and contain some original plantings from the second settlement. The garden of number 10 is a pretty example of the symmetrical lines of a Georgian garden, with its Tuscan columns, pillared stone gateway, and geometrically laid out pathways and garden beds. During my own exploration of the garden I found the water well to be a prominent feature.  As I wrote Heart of a Beast this well became a focal point in many of the garden scenes.

A Guard Tower of the Old Military Barracks, Norfolk Island

A Guard Tower of the Old Military Barracks, Norfolk Island

Although there are eleven houses on Quality Row, most still lived in today, I decided that the Forsyths should occupy number 10 because of its close proximity to the Old Military Barracks where Edmund was billeted. 

“The Forsyths had been in residence for two weeks now. To Edmund, the best part of all was its location, right in the shadow of the Military Barracks. When he could not be with Sarah, he spent many hours in the guard tower of the barracks, just watching her in the garden, reminiscing, hoping.”

If you look carefully you can see the guard tower of the Old Military Barracks in all of Linda Chapman’s photographs included in this post. I hope that by adding these photographs to each blog it helps you to visualise in your own mind’s eye the Norfolk Island of Heart of a Beast.

Again the booklet  A Street Guide Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island written by Jane Wesley was a valuable resource for this blog.

What people are saying about Heart of a Beast

 

Looking down on Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

Looking down on Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

I have added a new page to this blog titled “Reviews.”

Why not check it out and see what people are saying about Heart of a Beast?

Personally, I am thrilled that so many people have taken the time to write a review for Heart of a Beast. If you are one of them, thank you so very much.

Dont forget that you can go directly to the blog page by clicking on the “Josephine de Moor” on this email.

The beginning of a walk down Military Road, Kings Town (now Quality Row, Kingston)

A walk down Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

A walk along Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island takes you on a journey back into that part of a 19th century penal colony where the civilian and military staff were housed. Here, walking around the magnificent Georgian buildings, now lovingly restored,  it is not hard to visualise how this street must have looked during the time of Heart of a Beast.  During the second convict settlement this road was known as Military Road. It is along this road that Edmund, Sarah, Judge and Mrs Forsyth, Commandant and Mrs Boyce and the Reverend Bailey lived.

Immediately Lieutenant Edmund Thornton landed on Norfolk Island in 1847 he was met by his Commanding Officer, Captain Travers. “After a good ten-minute’s walk along dirt roads inland, Edmund followed Captain Travers up a slight incline and found himself looking at Government House.”

Government House, Kingston, Norfolk Island

Even today it is an imposing Georgian home set high on Dove Hill. Construction began in 1829, with verandas being added in 1833. It was built using thick walls and barred windows, and had sentries and cannons strategically placedall around to protect its inhabitants from the ever present threat of convict rebellion. Although Commandant and Mrs Boyce are completely fictional characters, Government House has been in constant use by a series of Commandants and Administrators since it was completed.  When the penal colony was first reopened in 1825 a quick series of Commandants ruled over the settlement. These included Captain Turton, Captain Vance Donaldson, Captain Wright, Captain Hunt and Captain Wakefield. Government House was built during the time of Colonel James T Morriset 1829 – 1834; he was followed by Major Anderson, the builder, 1834 – 1839. Then in the space of a year or so two more Commandants took control – Major Bunbury of the 80th regiment and Major Ryan of the 50th; Captain Alexander Maconochie, the reformer, became Commandant 1840 – 1844; Major Childs took over  in 1844 – 1846, when finally John Price became Commandant, 1846-1853. It was during this period that Norfolk Island truely became a place of total hell on earth. Each of these men have their own stories  – one a builder, one a reformer; but least three were tyrants.  If you would like to know more about these commandants I found the booklet Convicts and Commandants of Norfolk Island 1788-1855 written by Margaret Hazard to be a very easy read and most informative.

While stationed on Norfolk Island Edmund was quartered in what was known as the Old Military Barracks.  The construction of the Old Military Barracks began in 1829 as a two storey building large enough to accommodate one hundred men. In 1831 a third storey was added. Eventually in 1832 Officers Quarters were built on each side of the building.

Old Military Barracks, Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island

It was in one of these Officers quarters that I envisioned Edmund lodging during his time on Norfolk Island.  His room in the barracks is loosely based on a description I found in the Journal of Ensign Abel Dottin William Best. Ensign Best diligently records his duty and surroundings during his own stay on Norfolk Island in 1838.  Although he describes his accommodation he does not record if it was in the Old or New Military Barracks (which was started in 1835 and completed in 1836)

You can read Ensign Best’s complete journal in the book – Journal of Ensign Best edited by Nancy M Taylor. (1966)

The information presented in this blog about the construction of the two buildings has been gleaned from the booklet  A Street Guide Quality Row, Kingston, Norfolk Island – Jane Wesley and from various Norfolk Island tour guides.

I chose to have Edmund living in the Old Military Barracks  rather than the New Barracks because of its close proximity to number 10 Quality Row. But that’s another story!

Once again all credit for the photographs must go to Linda Chapman.

Arriving on Norfolk Island by sea.

Heart of a Beast has now been released! And what a ride its been! During the first week of its release (9th November – 14th November) Heart of a Beast was never out of the top fifty of Amazon 100 Best Sellers (free kindle e-book) in both historical romance and contemporary fiction. It actually spent most of its time in the low 30s, getting as high as number 30! Thanks to everyone who downloaded it during the free period, it really helped with Heart of a Beast‘s rankings. Hope you are enjoying reading it. It is, of course, still available to purchase as an e-book on Amazon.

But, dont forget you can now also order paper back copies online from Doctor Zed Publishing  http://doctorzed.com/ebooks/fiction/heart-of-a-beast.html

Now that many of you have read Heart of a Beast or are reading it, let’s start from the first chapter and set the scene.

Passengers arriving at Kingston, Norfolk Island from a cruise ship

Lieutenant Edmund Thornton was surprised that the Governor Phillip anchored so far from the shore in Sydney Bay when he first arrived on Norfolk Island.  Then he noticed the waves crashing over the reef and understood why. He was rowed to the pier in Kings Town (Kingston today) in a barge guided by a coxswain and propelled by convict rowers.

Arrival by sea to Norfolk Island has altered very little since Edmund’s time. In fact only thing that has really changed is that the barge is no longer “propelled” by convict rowers!  All goods and persons who arrive by sea are still ferried onto the island by small boats, as shown in these great photographs from Linda Chapman.

Passenger arriving at the Kingston Pier, Norfolk Island

Construction on the pier began in 1839 but was not completed  until well into the 1840s. A natural rocky outcrop was used as its foundation. It was constructed by chain gangs, that is those prisoners who were being punished for severe offences committed on the island. Leg irons weighing as much as 16 kg (36 lbs) were attached to each man’s legs. These irons were often continuously worn during the period of punishment. While constructing the pier these men would be forced to keep working until the tide reached their waists and once the tide receded they went straight back in.

The pier has been resurfaced and strengthened over the years but it is still the same size and much of its original stonework is as it was when Edmund and the Forsyths arrived on Norfolk Island.

The above notes about the pier came from a wonderful little book – Convict Kingston by Nan Smith. This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the convict ruins of Kingston. As you read and walk from one area to the next it is as though Nan herself is taking you on a guided tour.

Landing goods at Cascade, Norfolk Island

Often the weather in Kingston is so inclement that it is not suitable for landing so the boats are diverted to Cascade on the other side of the island. This is as it has been since Norfolk Island was first settled in 1788, only a month after the first fleet arrived in Port Jackson. (Now Sydney, Australia.)

Norfolk Island is not completely self-sufficient and so they rely on the cargo ships from Australia and New Zealand landing for many of their provisions. On my first visit the weather was so rough that the ships could not safely anchor at Kingston or Cascade so many of the shops shelves were becoming quite bare; but that just added to the magic of the island. When the ships finally anchored at Cascade there was a huge crowd waiting for it – including tourists! It is quite a site to see.  I watched in amazement as the skilled  lightridge workers loaded goods onto the lighters (small boats) and then these were towed to shore by launches. While we watched two lighters were “tied” together and  a car was strapped across them and ferried to shore!

If you are  lucky enough to be on the island when a ship comes in make sure you go down to the pier. You will not be disappointed!

Thank you!

Thanks to every one who has downloaded Heart of a Beast.

Office of the Royal Engineers, Norfolk Island

Hope you are enjoying it.

Have you read the customer reviews on Amazon.com and Google.com?

Dont forget the free download ends Late Tuesday afternoon 13th November  2012.

Spread the word!

Release Day IS HERE – Heart of a Beast is released as an ebook on Amazon!

IT’S MIDNIGHT!
 
THE BIG DAY IS Finally HERE!
 
Heart of a Beast has been released as an e-book on Amazon.com!
 
It will be free on Amazon for five days only – from approximately 4 pm AEST today (because Amazon is an American site),  Friday 9th November till Tuesday 13th November. Here’s the Amazon link you need:
Once the free period is over Heart of a Beast can be downloaded for $7.99.
 
Dont have a kindle reader? No Problem. You can google kindle4pc and get a link to download free software to read the kindle book on your computer, iPad, or iPhone.  So PLEASE ask EVERYONE you know to download it. ALL downloads will help with Heart of a Beast‘s ranking on Amazon.
 
Once you have read it why not give it a star rating on Amazon or “like” it on Facebook – Yes, I am blowing my own “trumpet” but if I don’t who will?Hopefully YOU – after you have read Heart of a Beast. 🙂 
Your ratings will encourage other people to enjoy it too.
You can even write a review on Amazon if you feel so inclined.
I would also love to hear from you  josephine.demoor@hotmail.com 
 
Dont forget Paper Back Copies can still be pre-ordered at a 25% discount http://doctorzed.com/ebooks/fiction/heart-of-a-beast.html
 
Very Big Thank Yous must go to Dr Scott Zarcinas (DoctorZed Publishing), my niece, Imogen Hunn, my sister, Margaret Hunn, and my daughter, Katrina Denis, who have all given so generously of their time over the past few months to help Heart of a Beast overcome the final hurdles toward publication.  Without them Heart of a Beast would not be ready for you to read today.
 
The COUNT DOWN is now on for the release of Heart of a Beast  in Paper Back
7th December, 2012.
 
 

New Book Trailer

4 days till the ebook launch and what better way to celebrate it than by releasing a new book trailer for Heart of a Beast!

My niece Imogen Hunn is a very talented young lady. She is studying Communications at the University of Queensland and when she heard that I was in need of help to market my debut novel Heart of a Beast she was very quick to offer her assistance.

It is thanks to her that this blog even exists. She took a total novice under her wing and generously gave of her time to help me understand what blogging was all about. This blog was completely designed by her. I am very proud to call her my Public Relations Manager. How lucky am I – a new novelist with her own PR – not bad eh?!

When we were first brainstorming ideas for ways to market Heart of a Beast I mentioned to Imogen that I had seen some book trailers on YouTube. She took this idea and ran with it. Sifting through a number of photographs that I had taken on my numerous research visits to Norfolk Island she transformed them into an inspiring visual montage of Heart of a Beast.  I believe she has captured the very essence of my novel in her work.  There is one photograph in this montage that I think stands out. It is the photograph of the waves crashing over the reef at Kingston, Norfolk Island. All credit for this stunning photograph must go to Linda Chapman of Norfolk Island. Thanks for letting me use it.

See Imogen’s amazing production on the Welcome page of this blog and judge for yourself how brilliant it is.

Some of you, like me, are new to the world of blogging. Did you know that if you click on the small josephinedemoor under the title of this blog in the email you receive it will take you directly to the blog page? You will then see some tabs across the top of the page. Click on “Welcome” and enjoy Imogen’s book trailer!  I still get goose bumps every time I watch it. (If you have any problems don’t hesitate to email me on josephine.demoor@hotmail.com and I will try to help you.)

The trailer also has a YouTube link  http://youtu.be/ZKYO9avlMpU so you can share it with all your friends.

Imogen, what would I have done without you? Thanks heaps!

The count down is on!

5 days till the release of Heart of a Beast as an e book! The final countdown is on.

5 days of anticipation and, yes, a little apprehension. My baby is about to be released to out into the world. I hope the world will treat her kindly.

With Norfolk Island, at the forefront of my mind, especially at the moment, I have been thinking back over the research I did before writing Heart of a Beast.  Now that I am so close to the day I have been anticipating for so long I feel a sense of connection with some of the convicts on the island. How must they have felt knowing that they had only 5 days to wait till their release – freedom or death?

My “release date” gives me a sense of achievement after many years of hard work.  I can only imagine that to those confined or condemned their “release date” would be met with very different emotions – maybe a sense of relief;  possibly a fear of the unknown;  perhaps  even  a feeling something akin to exhilaration at escaping their life of daily torment.

Of course not all convicts on Norfolk Island were confined in cells. To be confined on bread and water was one form of punishment metered out on the island during the second penal settlement. Can you picture convicts crowded into a cramped space, no bigger than 6ft x 8ft, counting down the days to their release by scratching marks into the stone walls of the cell; sometimes only being able to tell the passing of time by the arrival of the turnkey with their daily rations.  Try shutting yourself in your walk-in wardrobe if you have one.  Trying to get a sense of how these convicts must have felt I shut myself in mine.  All I can say is that, in my case, as the darkness engulfed me, a crushing sense of claustrophobia soon overtook me, and I was very relieved that I could open the door under my own free will. 

At least I am free to do as I want while I wait for my “release date” and instead of scratching marks onto a wall I have an electronic widget on my blog to count down the days!

The following tells of thirty convicts waiting for their impending release in five days.

Convict Ruins, Norfolk Island

In July 1834 the convicts on Norfolk Island mutinied. It was a failure and over in seven hours but the retaliation of the authorities lasted for months afterward. (Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes)  The Catholic Vicar General of Australia, William Ullathorne and an Anglican Minister were dispatched to the island to prepare fourteen men for their deaths.  Arriving on Norfolk Island in September, 1834, the Vicar General went straight to the jail, with only five days to prepare the men for their fate.  As he stood in front of the first cell door the turnkey told him to stand back as he opened it. “There came forth a yellow exhalation, the produce of the bodies confined therein.” (Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes)

The Vicar General was later to write:

“My unexpected appearance …came on them like a vision. I found them crowded into three cells, so small as barely to allow their lying down together – their garments thrown off for a little coolness. They had been six months looking at their fate. I had to announce life to all but thirteen – to these, death. A few words of preparation, and then their fate.  Those who were to live wept bitterly, whilst those doomed to die, without exception, dropped on their knees , and with dry eyes, thanked God that they were to be delivered from such a place. Who can describe their emotions?”

In his book “Fatal Shore” Robert Hughes records that there were actually fourteen men sentenced to death. Included in these was Robert Douglas – the man who made the moving statement that gave Heart of a Beast its name.

The Norfolk Island Green Parrot – an endangered bird.

Cyanoramphus cookii – Norfolk Island Green Parrot – other common names include Green Parrot, Norfolk Island Parrot, Norfolk Island Parakeet.

Sarah Henshall is fascinated by two birds that are nesting in the gardens of the Forsyth home on Military Road, Kings Town.  (now Number 10 Quality Row, Kingston) She paints them; she protects them and she rejoices in their  freedom.

Judge Forsyth, her guardian, who everyone believes is a very learned gentleman, tells her that they are named Cyanoramphus cookii or the Norfolk Island Parakeet. They are actually  more commonly known as the Norfolk Island Green Parrot.

These  pretty birds, with their emerald-green feathers, blue edges to their wings and splashes of red on the crown of their heads and behind their eyes,  flutter through the pages of Heart of a Beast leading you on a journey within a journey.

It is believed that during the second penal settlement these birds were most probably widely distributed across Norfolk Island, the place to which they are endemic. But today, only a little over 160 years later, they are listed as endangered.

Coral Rowston from the Norfolk Island National Park kindly supplied me with this gorgeous photo of the green parrot and also sent me some great notes about the parrot. Over the past 30 years the Norfolk Island National Park Rangers have been participating in a course of action trying to save this bird, with its distinctive kek-kek-kek cry, from extinction. Notes on a sign displayed at the National Park record : “In the early 1980s there were fewer than 30 green parrots left.  Today, thanks to the National Park’s assisted wild breeding program, there are over 200 green parrots here on Norfolk Island. ” Thanks Coral for allowing me to share this photo and information.

In my opinion this is an outstanding achievement and the Norfolk Island Park Rangers should be commended for their dedication that has bought this parrot back from the brink of extinction.  I hope that by using the green parrot as a side story in Heart of a Beast I will encourage more people to become aware of  the Norfolk Island Green Parrot’s plight.

Coral also told me the National Park has a Facebook page, so if you too are on Facebook why not check it out :

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Norfolk-Island-National-Park-and-Botanic-Garden/352922925338