Pitcairner laughs off reports of make-up over mutiny
A Pitcairn descendant of Fletcher Christian has laughed off reports of a symbolic reconciliation with the Bligh family 225 years after the legendary mutiny on the Bounty.
A Pitcairn descendant of Fletcher Christian has laughed off reports of a symbolic reconciliation with the Bligh family 225 years after the legendary mutiny on the Bounty
There have been reports in overseas media that Pitcairner Jacqui Christian would be returning Captain William Bligh's bible to one of his descendants Maurice Bligh who would hand it straight back as a way of putting an end to a so-called fictionalised silly feud.
Jacqui Christian says that came as a complete surprise to her.
JACQUI CHRISTIAN: We have the bible. It's in a glass case with the Church of England Prayer Book. I guess it's one of our proudest possessions in our museum but it's actually in our church here on Pitcairn, in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, so that tourists can come and view it when they're on island. The story is that (the last surviving mutineer on Pitcairn) John Adams taught the people from this bible and the Church of England Prayer Book and the entire community were converted to Christianity which was always seen as what saved the island from the past that it was heading down, with Tahitian men killing white men and women killing Tahitian men and our gory history.
SALLY ROUND: And was it the case that this bible was taken from the cabin of Captain Bligh?
JC: I can't verify that (laughs). We heard it was Fletcher Christian's. It was given to Fletcher Christian by his mother and found in his sea chest so I'm not quite sure whether it was Bligh's actually at all. The Pitcairners certainly don't want this bible leaving the island. That's not part of a plan that I'm aware of.
SR: So it's a very special, symbolic bible. Is it something you use on a regular basis?
JC: It certainly is very special. No we don't use it. It's protected in a glass case. Obviously it's very old and we don't want people thumbing through and damaging the pages.
SR: Just in a general sense, that Bounty story - is it an advantage for Pitcairn or is it sometimes, perhaps in this case, something you wish would go away?
JC: Oh no, I think Pitcairn is very fortunate to have the Bounty story. I guess the fame from all the books and movies has put us on the map otherwise we would be a tiny little island in the middle of the South Pacific with fifty people and who would really care? So I think the Bounty is actually a very important brand to Pitcairn and our tourism and everything that we do here.
SR: Just getting back to reconciliation then. Do you see a need for reconciliation now 225 years later?
JC: Personally not at all but obviously some people still think there's a need. I still get asked that question as I do lectures on board cruise ships but we can't be held accountable for what our ancestors did. I met Maurice a few years ago in London and he's just another person. Yes he's a descendant of the Bligh family and I'm a descendant from the Christian family but we're certainly friends. There's no animosity there.
SR: Do you think a symbolic handshaking would go down well?
JC: I don't think there's a real need for it but maybe some of the aficionados think there is. I mean I'm happy to do it absolutely.
That was Jacqui Christian, who's a descendant of the Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian, talking to Sally Round.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: