One wreck, two stories

Every shipwreck has a story. Most have been forgotten but a select few capture our collective imagination. One of those wrecks that’s been impossible to forget is the 1878 wreck of the Georgette on the south-west coast of Australia. In fact, two Australian authors have recently published a pair of children’s books on the heroic rescue rescue of the Georgette‘s passengers by 16-year-old Grace Bussell and  Sam Isaacs, a family farmhand.


Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck, by first-time author Michelle Gillespie, reflects careful historical research and meticulous attention to detail. As Gillespie told The West: “I had a responsibility to get the events as close as possible to the truth, even down to the name of Grace’s horse.” By every account, Gillespie succeeded — Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck is a resounding success.




Amazing Grace: An Adventure at Sea, by veteran children’s author Stephanie Owen Reeder, casts a wider net. According to The West:

Amazing Grace: An Adventure at Sea combines the story of Grace Bussell and the wreck of the Georgette with images and stories of life in the colonies during the late 1800s. The author skillfully blends the story of the shipwreck and its aftermath with chapters on life at sea and on the land, as well as family Christmas traditions. Illustrations include the author’s, as well as reproductions of newspaper stories and historical documents.

I want to read both! Though I’ll have to wait for my local library to get them in–I doubt Santa has time to procure copies for me.



Filed under Announcement, Shipwreck culture

5 responses to “One wreck, two stories

  1. perfectum! not sure it gets any better than this 🙂 i’ll have to order it myself, sounds like an inspired, holiday read.

  2. will do- good use of my amazon points for “sam, grace…”- I can’t seem to find the “amazing grace” one for purchase…though there’s a great preview on google books:
    thanks for the head’s up!

  3. Reblogged this on smallerandsmaller and commented:
    Seems fitting to share this post on the first day of winter, when yesterday’s post was all about turning from light to dark, the earth’s axis tilting, salvage & shipwreck of sorts.

    Borrowed from (thanks!), this write up about the sinking of the Georgette and the young girl who saves many on horseback(!!!???) just seems to follow naturally as a pre-Christmas read. “Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck” is available on and the “Amazing Grace” will be available soon, but check out it’s preview on google books:

    I’m so diggin the illustrations and wish I could post them to my account- go see them- it’s such a great heroic story and it’s from down under- my 2 favorites mixed into one book, or sorry mate, two books!

    see my next blog for some amazing aussie opal mining stories.

  4. Pingback: One wreck, two stories « smallerandsmaller

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