16 Tales of Historic Castaways That Make Robinson Crusoe Pale in Comparison
16 Tales of Historic Castaways That Make Robinson Crusoe Pale in Comparison

16 Tales of Historic Castaways That Make Robinson Crusoe Pale in Comparison

Natasha sheldon - September 21, 2018

16 Tales of Historic Castaways That Make Robinson Crusoe Pale in Comparison
Still from the Castaway Movie/Cannon Street Entertainment. Google Images

16. Gerard Kingsland and Lucy Irvine: The self-imposed Castaways of Tuin Island

In 1980, an eccentric British writer/adventurer, Gerald Kingsland place a very unusual advert in Time Out Magazine. “Writer seeks ‘wife’ for a year on Tropical Island” it read. Kingsland maintained the experience was meant to be an“experiment in isolation.” However, he must have realized spending a year marooned on an island with a strange man could not have appealed to many women. However, Gerald did receive a reply from the right kind of adventurous soul: 24-year-old Lucy Irvine. So, in 1982, the couple set out to Tuin Island an uninhabited island in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The project did not go well from the start. The Australian authorities that owned the island insisted the couple should marry, a fact Irvine deeply resented. She also resented Kingsland’s advances and his desire to dominate her- despite the fact she was doing all the work while he abused her and complained about his ill health. Then there was the fact the island was far from tropical but instead a more of a “coral atoll… with “lots of rough bush, sand,” and unfriendly animals like redback spiders. The couple had also intended to grow crops but there was barely enough water to sustain them, let alone any new vegetation.

However, Irving rose above it all. In fact, it was she who derived the most from the experience, refusing to leave the island when Kingsland wanted to give up. Finally, however, the project had to be terminated when the dehydrated and malnourish pair had to be rescued by the nearby Badu islanders. The mismatched pair split up- and finally went their separate ways.


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