The Mermaid of Cockatoo single work   short story  
Issue Details: First known date: 2005... 2005 The Mermaid of Cockatoo
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'During the early years of European habitation Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour was a grim place of incarceration and punishment - for convicts, for orphan and wayward girs, for homeless and orphaned boys.

'Jane Messer was intrigued by the history and presence of the island, which she passed each day in a ferry on her way to and from school. She found it formidable, romantic and full of mystery. Her story intertwines two themes; the brutal internment of men and children and the lyrical quality of the waters of Sydney Harbour.

'Marina is 14 years old and dreams of escape from the island prison. She's a keen and sensitive observer of the privations and sorrow which surround her but has a rich inner life in which freedom is just out of reach, just over the waters. Perhaps the mermaids of her imagination will help her reach the further shore.'

Source: ABC Radio National's Airplay website,
Sighted: 19/02/2007


  • Read on ABC Radio National's Airplay on 18 February 2007, and repeated on 19 April 2009, with music arranged and performed by Coralie Joyce.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 20 Apr 2009 10:22:15
  • Sydney Harbour, Sydney,
  • 1873
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