So quick quiz…
Where is this the flag of:
And what is the relationship to this one…
5 points for the first question and 20 points for the second part …. no cheating.
My Shetland tale this evening revolves around the rather remarkable story of a School masters son who lived just over the hill from me.
Have you ever played the game, I would like to live there whilst driving around (a favourite game of my good lady and I) John Clunies-Ross took it one step further… in 1813 he was a mate aboard the whaler ‘Baroness Longueville’ . On a lay over in Timor he was offered the job of captain of the brig ‘Olivia’, which he took. In 1825 He was travelling with a cargo of pepper from Borneo when he stopped on the white sands of a deserted island to reballast his vessel as well as rebalance the cargo. He thought it would be a nice place to set up home and build a trade empire. Two years later he returned and set about building his empire. He arrived on the Cocos Islands, around 11pm on February 15 1827, with his wife, five children and servants. So the game is up, the flag is Cocos Islands.
And this is where it is (in case you didn’t know)
The island, did indeed become a trading post. Huts were originally constructed, wells were dug, coconut trees and gardens were planted with fertiliser coming from burnt palm leaves. John and his wife both died on the same day on May 24 1854.
A new house was built, it was quite a nice pad, a long way from the original thatched huts…
Various British ships arrived over the years, including the ‘Beagle’ complete with a certain Charles Darwin. Who mentioned the ex slaves who were working for the family. He stated that…”found the natives in a state of freedom”. But a following sentence was missed out… but in most other points they are considered as slaves”.
However, Captain Harding of the HMS Pelorus Mentioned in a letter to Clunie-Ross that after questioning the Malays about their treatment…”Not a shadow of complaint or misrule by you could be established or maintained.”
Clunie-Ross promised to provide the ex slaves an agreed wage and to provide houses and gardens and had to promise that they were allowed transport off the island should they want it.
The family were the self styled rulers of the islands. The representative of the Straits Settlements reported the following in 1885 “members of the Clunies-Ross family are to-day in every sense of the word proprietors of the islands, for Mr George Clunies-Ross makes his own laws and interprets them, polices his little domain, provides his own coinage […] controls the entire trade and acts as “the universal provider” to satisfy the wants of the community”
In 1886 Queen Victoria granted the islands in perpetuity to the Clunies-Ross family.
The family sold the island to Australia in 1978 for the sum of £2.5 million.
Hopefully this has been a bit of an interesting read.