The illustrations from Michelle Gillespie’s picture book, Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck (Fremantle Press, 2011), depict Sam Isaacs and Grace Bussell rescuing passengers in the surf of Calgardup Bay.
Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck was the winner of the 2011 Western Australian Premier’s Book Award for Children’s Literature. Sonia Martinez’s artwork and draft materials from this award-winning picture book are part of the State Library’s collection of exemplary picture book art, The Peter Williams Collection.
There were differing reports of the rescue in the media. Many newspaper accounts of the loss of the Georgette hailed Grace Bussell a heroine, with little to no recognition given to others involved in the daring rescue that occurred.
George Leake was one of the passengers of the Georgette. He provided an account of what occurred that evening, that was different to what the newspapers were saying. Read his version of events. How does it differ to the news reports of the time?
In the 1800s, the Margaret River region was considered isolated, and it took time for news about the Georgette, and the safety of its passengers, to reach the Swan River Colony. Read this newspaper article that highlights how people were anxiously waiting at the telegraph office for any news. How quickly do we find out about news events nowadays?
Read this newspaper article about the rescue. Do you think the article paints an accurate picture of the event? Why? Why not?