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Ray Parkin

1910 - 2005

Ray Parkin grew up around Port Phillip Bay in Victoria. He left school at fourteen and worked with his father before joining the RAN at eighteen years of age. During World War II he was one of the crew of HMAS PERTH when it was attacked by the Japanese and sunk in the Sunda Straits in 1942. Parkin survived the sinking, despite spending about eleven hours in the water. He was held as a prisoner of war on the Burma-Thailand Railway. While in captivity, Parkin drew and wrote whenever possible, even though the penalty for doing so was was death. Following the war Parkin returned home to his family in Melbourne and worked as a tally clerk. He continued to write in his spare time.

In the 1960s three volumes of Parkins memoirs were published. OUT OF THE SMOKE, INTO THE SMOTHER and THE SWORD AND THE BLOSSOM. The memoirs by Parkin reflected on his survival following the sinking, fifteen months on the railway and a year working in the Japanese mines. In 1967 Parkin began researching the history of Captain Cook's ENDEAVOUR. He spent thirteen years researching and writing his book focused on the ENDEAVOUR. It took another seventeen years to secure a publisher. The book H.M. BARK ENDEAVOUR was published by Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Press. Ray Parkin won the NSW Premier's non fiction literary prize in 1999. Parkin gives a detailed account of the construction, crew, equipment and a narrative of the ENDEAVOUR voyage on the east coast of New Holland (Australia) in 1770. The book includes numerous sketches and illustrations. Parkin meticulously illustrated everything in the ship from the cannons and ropes to the sails. The Australian War Memorial holds four of his sketches of life in the prisoner of war camp. Parkin died in 2005.