08 | 12 | 2017

The Bounty’s Rudder, Souvenir Hunters’ Depredations




In the autumn of 1933 Parkins Christian, magistrate of Pitcairn's Island, was 
out in a canoe fishing over where the remains of H.M.S. Bounty were lying. He 
was using a “ water glass ”— a wooden box with a glass in the bottom — which 
enabled him to see below the surface. The currents had carried away the sand and 
weed that had covered the Bounty’s remains, and Christian saw a metal object 
lying at the bottom. He got a long rope and grapnel and was successful in 
securing the object, which proved to be a heavy brass fitting, the pintle and 
gudgeon from the stern of the Bounty.

A week later some of the islanders went out in two large boats to grapple for 
another object that could be seen. It proved to be the Bounty's rudder, about 
13 ft. in length. Much of the wood had rotted away, but the three heavy brass 
straps and bolts were in good condition considering that they had been in the 
sea for nearly 150 years.

This account of the finding of the rudder was sent to the Curator of the Manx 
Museum by a resident at Pitcairn's Island. It has been the custom to send from 
time to time to the Manx Museum a letter giving details of happenings on the 
inland for the reason that the chief family there, the Christians, originally 
came from the Isle of Man.
Parkins Christian has had offers for the rudder. The captain of a passing ship 
offered him £52 for it, and later some British naval officers offered him £100. 
A message has come from Pitcairn within the past few days stating that it has 
been difficult to keep souvenir hunters from taking pieccs of the rudder away: 
some pieces have already been cut off.

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