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William Bligh-A stormy story of tempestuous times


The story of the Mutiny of the Bounty and William Bligh's part in it is a fascinating story. William Bligh is a part of Australian history. He was an amazing navigator and disciplined captain, but one that lacked many social graces. He had a foul temper and managed to get many people offside with his inflexible attitude to authority. He was a character none the less.

The Picture book, William Bligh: a stormy story of tempestuous times, has been written by Michael Sedunary and illustrated by Bern Emmerichs. It recounts in the second person the events of the Bounty and the Rum Rebellion. It mentions the conflict that Bligh encountered both as Captain and as Governor of New South Wales.

While looking at the book, the students were asked to consider the statement:

A leader should be followed no matter how badly he treats his followers.

They had to decide on their position. On one side of the classroom was the word AGREE and on the other side was DISAGREE. The students then stood beside the word Agree or disagree, depending on their view. Some students couldn't decide so they stood in the middle. The students needed to be able to give reasons for their choice. 

The discussion was an interesting one. The students agreed with the statement recognised that a leader must have the authority to lead and this sometimes comes at a cost to both the leader and his followers. The students who disagreed with the statement felt that a leader should listen to those who are supporting them. They felt that a leader should be fair and just. The ones who were undecided could see both sides of the story. The discussion also led to a comparison with the current political situation in the world. 

This book provides a good opportunity to not only look at Australian History but to examine some of the issues in more detail. It explains aspects of Australian History that are complex, in a way that is entertaining and easy to understand. 

What have you learned about William Bligh? What did you enjoy about the book?  

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