Reviews

Hon. Kerry Sanderson AC – former Governor of the State of Western Australia, former Chief Executive Officer of Fremantle Ports, Chancellor Edith Cowan University: 

‘This book provides a fascinating insight into the then Colony of Western Australia in the second half of the 19th century through the career of Captain George Forsyth who clearly was a major contributor to our important maritime history. 

…I particularly appreciated the insights into the linkages between the Governors (and Colonial Secretaries) and the Harbour Master as well as between Fremantle Port and Rottnest. 

…A fascinating insight is created by the inclusion of extracts from a number of newspaper articles and letters at that time. The authors are to be congratulated on their ability to find the relevant documents.’ 

Captain Allan Gray – President of the International Harbour Masters’ Association and the Harbour Master for the Port of Fremantle: 

‘…The Port of Fremantle has a proud history and Ron and Ian’s book – A Hazardous Life – examines this history and George’s experiences in some detail and, in so doing, sheds considerable new light on the operation of the port of Fremantle and the Harbour Master’s Service in colonial times. 

…For me, it was a very interesting read, not least because it’s a well-written account and a great window into the life of Fremantle in colonial days, but because I have seen the same role through different eyes, more than 100 years later. 

…It’s not always well-known by the public, but these can be treacherous waters off Fremantle and not the easiest to navigate, even today. In George’s day, good seamanship, navigation and of course sound vessels were of the utmost importance, as they are today. 

…I did smile as I read through Ian and Ron’s book to see how many on-water crises George had to deal with. It seemed at one point that his career went from dealing with one shipwreck to the next. 

…It’s a wonderful read and I am sure that it will be well regarded by Western Australians who get their hands on it. I am sure Fremantle Ports will do what it can to make people aware of this great book. 

…To Ian and Ron, congratulations to you from all of us at Fremantle Ports on your wonderful research and literary achievement.’ 

Maritime Heritage Association Inc.:

‘The MHA’s publishing committee believes that ‘A Hazardous Life’, which is based on considerable original research of historic documents, adds significant new substance to the recording of Western Australia’s rich maritime history. The MHA is pleased to have worked with Ron and Ian Forsyth to publish this new book and commends it to those with an interest in our colonial and maritime history.’ 

Michael Barker QC – ‘Fremantle Shipping News’ website, former Judge of the High Court of Australia, Judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, and President of the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal: 

‘Many, especially loyal Fremantle Shipping News readers, will be anxious to lay their hands on this new book, lovingly researched and written by Ron and Ian Forsyth, which was launched by Captain Allan Gray, the Port of Fremantle’s current Harbour Master, on 26 March 2019 at the Port Authority building in Fremantle. 

…The biography is the result of research of original documentation conducted over some thirty years by the authors and is richly documented, including with evocative quotes from official records and newspapers of the day and numerous illustrations, some of which have not before been published. 

…In the course of telling George’s story, the book sheds new light on Fremantle’s maritime history, including the management of the port, the challenges facing the harbour master’s service and efforts to develop a safe harbour. It also evinces some of the social and political tensions in the Colony in the period between the end of transportation of convicts in 1868 and the gold rush of the 1890s.’ 

Arthur Spartalis BA, BEd, MACE – Fine art dealer and valuer: 

‘In recent years, George’s artistic talents have come to the fore. His skill as a painter provides a pictorial history of boats under sail in challenging seas off Rottnest and Fremantle, and features of buildings and environs in both the north and south of Western Australia. His watercolours of seascapes between Rottnest and the mainland have a naïve charm about them which, when coupled with his more architectural images, provide a pictorial history of importance and uniqueness of Western Australia’s endeavours to provide essential transport between far flung destinations in Australia’s biggest state. 

Captain George Forsyth’s contribution to Western Australia’s maritime and art history is unique and fully deserving of the tome written by his descendants, Ian and Ron Forsyth, who do justice to this remarkable man.’