Thursday, 30 September 2010


The staff here at PROTT's UK office are taking a ten day vacation whilst the landlord upgrades the premises  to something approaching squalor.

Honorary Citizens.

The highest honour that The Peoples Republic of Tamba- Tamba can bestow on a foreigner is that of Honorary Citizen.
The honour was introduced by The People's Council in 1984 to mark five years of the Revolution.
Of course, our Leading Citizen, Dick Francis, was not born on the island, but he is excluded from this list as he is directly descended from one of the original 18 citizens.
The current Honorary Citizens are:

Mr. Harry Belafonte (USA)- entertainer & humanitarian worker

Dr. Fidel Castro (Cuba)- statesman

Prof. Noam Chomsky (USA)- anarchist

HH The Dalai Lama (Tibet/ India/ Switzerland) - statesman

Mrs Nicola Hopkins (England) - humanitarian worker

Sir Elton John (England)- entertainer

Mr. Nelson Mandela (RSA)- statesman
Mr. Henry Olonga (Zimbabwe) - cricketer

Mr. Dirk Potts (NL)- architect, environmentalist

Dr.Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira (Brazil) - footballer
M. Raoul Vaneigem (Belgium) - philosopher

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


 Palmerston c1890. The Quays in the foreground. Gough's Hump behind.

At the time of 'independence' the population of the island was about 350.
75% of these people lived in the loosely defined village of Cocktown , which consisted of Cocktown Square, The Quays and a ribbon of cottages along the road that led westwards to The Big House.
Brougham Kakoy proposed to the Council that it befitted a newly independent state to have a capital. He suggested incorporating these hamlets into a town.
The name he proposed was Victoria. He said that this would be a fitting reminder of the island's ongoing loyalty to Britain.
The Council unanimously accepted the idea of incorporation, but stalled at naming the new town after the monarch.
John Cox artfully suggested Sleight but Brougham rejected this.
Cox then proposed that the youngest member of the council should suggest a name, 'to show faith in youth and hope for the  future'.
Isaac Greene, aged 21, suggested the name Palmerston in honour of the British politician whom, according to Greene's analysis , had paved the way for Tamba- Tamba's independence. The Council agreed that  this was a suitable compromise. It spoke of loyalty to England without being obsequious. The Council also agreed with Brougham's suggestion that the the White Ensign flag should fly over the city to retain some association with Britain for reasons of security.

Palmerston c1890, looking towards Old Cocktown Square

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Kakoy Dynasty: The White Rajahs of Tamba- Tamba.

Sir Brougham Sleight may have become the First Kakoy (he was sometimes referred to as White Rajah) as the result of a ruse by John Cox to ensure that the islanders were able to be self- governing. However, the Kakoy Dynasty effectively ruled Tamba- Tamba for 125 years, actually growing in strength and influence at the expense of the Council.

Sir Brougham Sleight (1799-1899) assumed the title Brougham Kakoy in 1854. Brougham was more interested in status rather than actual power.  During the early years of his reign the islanders were self governing and Brougham Kakoy lived out the fantasy life of an avuncular country squire.

Clifton Gates Kakoy ( 1860-1915) held the Kakoyship from 1899- 1915. Brougham's only son. He idolised Prince Albert.

Harry Royston Kakoy (1890- 1930) son of Clifton Gates,  known fondly as the Mad Kakoy. An admirer of Lenin and keen chimney sweep, he ruled for an interesting 15 years (1915-1930)

George Wilmslow Kakoy ( 1900- 1965) when Harry Roy the Mad died without issue the position of Kakoy passed to his cousin, Mr George Wilmslow, who had previously owned a Wireless shop in Wimbourne Minster. George Wilmslow Kakoy reigned from 1931- 1965. He styled himself a 'man of the people' and was very down to earth if somewhat patronizing in his dealings with the islanders. During his reign he was a notorious sexual adventurer. George Wilmslow was responsible for the appointment of Major Ambrose and the formation of the Tamba- Tamba Militia.

Melvin Marylebone Kakoy
(1935- 1977) Known as The Playboy. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, a former Guards officer and motor racing driver.Hardly bothered to visit Tamba- Tamba during his Kakoyship (1965-1977), using it only as another exotic location for his exuberant parties. He began to 'develop' the island in the late 1960's for his own financial gain, sowing the seeds of the Revolution. In his absence Major Ambrose's influence grew strong.

To Tam Kakoy (1940-) The Playboy Kakoy had many illegitimate heirs, and following much legal wrangling his unpopular half- brother assumed the Kakoyship on his death. This was in itself an unpopular  move as To Tam was half Kuiper's Islander . He was deposed by the Revolution and now lives in Reading.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The First Five Leading Citizens (1777-1860)

The earliest settlers (ie: the mutineers) lived to a form of proto communism. As we have seen, Thomas Cock was the first chairman of The Council. Theoretically Leading Citizens were elected ( in practice they were unopposed proposals) and recallable and rules were approved by committees. Although the office was open to challenge, Cock fulfilled the role to everyone's satisfaction until his untimely death in 1791.

Rowley Rowley (1755- 1800) was viewed as Cock's natural successor, and again enjoyed an unchallenged tenure as the island's Leading Citizen. He was put into the limelight briefly by the crisis of 1794-5, but displayed impressive diplomacy and articulacy during the British takeover and the Slave Revolt.

On the death of Rowley it seemed natural that the senior surviving mutineer, Samuel Hooper, should become the chairman of the Council. Hooper, who was born in Lowestoft in about 1745, was, by his own reckoning, uncomfortable in the company of others and particularly nervous around the 'officer class'. He was a man of few words, and was more concerned with developing his little fishing industry from the settlement of Hooper's Point.

After six months as Leading Citizen Hooper asked to be excused of his duties, saying he was getting too old and that someone else would represent the people better. Hooper returned to his boats and the longevity that all members of his family enjoy, passing away in 1830.

Following Hooper's resignation Tamba- Tamba chose its first homegrown Leading Citizen. Again, the selection was unopposed. Renton Lazenby Cock (1780- 1840) was the eldest son of Cock and a Wessel's island girl who Cock had renamed Eliza.

The dynastic feel of the first citizenship was cemented when the islanders unanimously chose John Cock (1810-1860) as his late father's replacement. It was John who changed the family name to Cox. John Cock enjoyed a very good relationship with Governor Brougham Sleight and, as we have seen, played a significant role in the development of the Kakoyship. He managed to safeguard the liberties of the islanders whilst also encouraging Sir Brougham's eccentric regal ambitions. Contemporary observers were impressed by Cox's tact and artfulness, which allowed Brougham Kakoy to feel that he truly was the lord of Tamba- Tamba whilst having very little influence on the day to day affairs of the island.

As is so often the case following the death of John Cox, who had been an accomplished and artful (if Machiavellian) leader, there was no one of his calibre to fill the vacancy.

Life on the island went on, but the last four decades of the 19th century were anything but an era of progress on Tamba- Tamba.The position of Leading Citizen became less relevant to the political life of the island.The Council became increasingly insignificant and Brougham Kakoy accrued more influence whilst hardly noticing, so engrossed was he in his regal fantasies.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Brougham Kakoy

Brougham Kakoy, a flattering portrait by John Jackson Stock.

Until the reports Duke Of Newcastle's speech in The House Of Commons in October 1853 reached the island no one at Tamba- Tamba had been aware of the existence of The Colonies and Dominions Act of 1851.
Apparently Sir Brougham Sleight had mislaid the official communications amongst other documents relating to the withdrawal of the garrison.
Now he was placed in the rather embarrassed position of finding out about the developments through copies of The Times that arrived with the mail packet of December 1853.
Sir Brougham confided in John Cox and they composed a letter seeking clarification under the pretence that it was to satisfy some local political matter.
In April 1854 Brougham Sleight received the following- an outline of The Colonies and Dominions Act, a letter from thanking him for his service to the crown and dissolving the position of the Governor of Tamba- Tamba and his later office of Her Majesty's Monitor of Tamba- Tamba. He was to receive a pension of 100 gns a year for life.
Following lengthy consultations with John Cox*, Brougham Sleight addressed the Council.
He announced that he was now the ruler of Tamba- Tamba. He was assuming the title of Brougham Kakoy (a misunderstanding of the Wessel's island term for 'ruler').
He stated that whilst Tamba- Tamba was no longer tied to the British Empire in any formal way, that he wished to retain a degree of loyalty and friendship with the British.
He spoke of how his 19 years on the island had made him feel more of a Tamba-Tambaman than an Englishman.
The meeting went on for the best part of 24 hours-
John Cox spoke in favour of Brougham assuming the leadership of the community; allowing Brougham to stay on as the leader of Tamba- Tamba would, he said, illustrate the sense of liberty and fair play on which the first settlers prided themselves.
There were no real implications for the islanders. They were assured that Brougham would not levy any taxes, he would not assume ownership of any of the common land on the island. Former Crown possessions would return to common ownership.
John Cox proposed that whilst retaining his seat on the Council, Brougham should not have to trouble himself with the day to day business of the island, but that he should be cast in a more advisory role. Any resolutions passed by the Council would have to be approved by Brougham.
On May the first 1854 Brougham Kakoy addressed the populace at Cocktown Square, and a new era in the island's history began.

* We will never know for certain the nature of these discussions, but tradition within the Cox family, and letters written by Lady Margaret Sleight, suggest that it was John Cox who pressed Brougham into assuming the role of island premier and John Cox who invented the position of Kakoy.
We asked leading Tamba- Tamba historian Gregory Rowley of PROTT Academy for his views on the subject:

Gregory Rowley

Prott: So Greg, what contemporary evidence can we draw on to shed some light on the origins of the Kakoyship?
GR: Well, not much , really. Only the official Council records remain, and of course, they contain essentially what Cox wanted people to believe.
Prott: But it's much more than speculation, isn't it? the idea that Cox engineered the Kakoyship?
GR: Oh, yes. If we consider what we know about Cox and what we know about Brougham, that seems likely...Brougham was a reluctant leader, if you like. Tamba- Tamba suited him, because not much went on . Before independence, I mean. Not a dynamic man. For example, we know from the memoirs of Lutwidge Reynolds, when the decision was made to withdraw the garrison, what did Brougham want to do? He wanted to get out. That was his first reaction- he wasn't looking for power, he wanted to save himself. If Brougham had harboured any ambitions to actually become the ruler of the island, here was his opportunity, but he didn't see it like that.
Prott: Whereas Cox?...
GR: Indeed. Here we have an ambitious man. Leading Citizen at 29, grandson of the leader of the first settlers. But look at the lengths he went to to curry favour with the English...
Prott: Changing the name ?
GR: That's just one example. Look at Palmerston- he was quite happy for the change of name there as well. It's almost like he wanted to break from the past. My theory, and I think that a close reading of the Council records of the time bears this out, is that Cox knew that he could only really rule the island if he used Brougham as a sort of a decoy.
Once the garrison was gone they could have got rid of Brougham, he only had a handful of staff... but it was Cox who made the case for keeping him on.
Again, after Brougham's position was completely undermined by The Colonies and Dominions Act of 1851, I mean, at this point he had no call whatsoever over the islanders, what does Cox do? He does his best to persuade the council that it is a good thing to allow this rather ineffectual man to assume control of the island. Or rather, to be perceived to be in control.
Prott: So Brougham was a puppet ruler?
GR: Exactly. Whilst Cox was alive anyway... You just take a look at all the Council records from the era from 1851- 1860. Anything that had any real impact on life on the island was proposed by Cox. Brougham's suggestions were acted upon only if they were relatively minor. Otherwise , and we have the records mind, otherwise we get Cox patiently explaining to the Council why they should not enact suggestions made by Brougham. Cox attitude to Brougham was extremely patronizing , but this was cleverly disguised.
Prott: So why did Brougham put up with it?
GR: Vanity. Vanity and fear perhaps. Cox was quite happy to tell the world that Brougham was in charge. Eventually Brougham believed in the imposture.
Prott: But ultimately Cox is largely overlooked whereas Brougham was the head of a dynasty that was in place for 125 years?
GR: (laughs) Often the way, isn't it? A charismatic and skillful politician such as Cox is a hard act to follow. After his death, things just drifted. It was as if he hadn't passed on the secret ingredient. So, effectively, we have forty years of nothing. Stagnation. And the next visionary, the next charismatic leader to come along? Not a Leading Citizen, not even a councillor. It was Clifton Gates. Clifton Gates was everything that Brougham was supposed to be. With Brougham it was all a front, but Clifton Gates was for real. He was paternalistic, but progressive. A man of his time, a natural leader. There was no one on the island to match him.
He really was the leader. He controlled the Council... But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
Prott: Thanks Greg. We'll be hearing more from Greg Rowley in the near future.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The San Luisitano Incident

In May 1852 a new settler arrived at Tamba- Tamba.
Herschel Sao Luisitano was a 50 year old speculator with a chequered history. Born in Lisbon, he had been known in Cape Verde, Angola , Paraguay and Rio De Janeiro.
Despite his lack of formal training, he had masqueraded with some success as a Doctor of Medicine. A scandal involving a 13 year old niece of Pedro II of Brazil
obliged Sao Luisitano to flee from Rio.
He had heard sailors' tales of the earthly paradise of Wessel's island and fancied that he could make an easy fortune there whilst evading justice.
He established himself as a doctor and prospector on Wessel's Island in 1851, but his activities soon brought him into conflict with the King of Wessel's, Ptomuna.

Herschel Sao Luisitano

Governor Sir Brougham Sleight was uneasy at the appearance of 'San Luisitano' as he was invariably referred to. Seemingly affluent and well connected, he presented Sir Brougham with his plans.
He claimed that his expertise in geology led him to be certain that gold could be found on Tamba- Tamba. He and his men, he said, had great experience of prospecting. San Luisitano asserted that as the land on the island was held in common, that he had every right to 'stake a claim'. He challenged Sir Brougham to produce any legally valid document or deed which would prevent him from doing so.
San Luisitano and his men (numbering seven, they were a rag tag group of bandits, soldiers of fortune from Brazil) established a camp about one mile along the coast from Hooper's point. They enclosed an area of land of about 1 km2 and began prospecting. The ruse was to create the impression that gold had been found and then sell portions of the land to those eager to join the gold rush.

John Cox addressed the Council and called for action. Whereas Tamba -Tamba had been synonymous with liberty for nearly 70 years, and all men were welcome in peace, he said that this development went against the spirit of their forefathers, and that the evils of private property and exploitation would not be tolerated.
One night in July 1852 a mob numbering fifty (and
including members of Sir Brougham Sleight's staff) attacked San Luisitano's camp.
Shots were fired, the men were beaten and the huts and workings were torched.
Luisitano and his men were bound and marched to their boat and ordered to leave the island immediately or face death.

Fleeing the island and eventually turning up in London early in 1853, San Luisitano appealed to the British Government for compensation. He attested that he had been 'ill used' on the orders of the Governor. He claimed that hundreds of pounds worth of valuable surveying equipment had been destroyed, and that a substantial amount of gold had also been seized by the mob.
When his complaint reached the Prime Minister The Earl of Aberdeen, he passed it on to the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, the Duke of Newcastle. The Duke of Newcastle's response , which hardly caused a ripple in London, was to send shock waves through Cocktown and Tamba- Tamba.

The Duke of Newcastle

The Duke of Newcastle stated that her Majesty's government was not responsible for the actions of Sir Brougham Sleight. According to the Colonies and Dominions Act of 1851 Tamba- Tamba was no longer a British Colony.
Sir Brougham Sleight
was in the employment of The Crown, but as he was effectively 'Her Majesty's Monitor', a rarely used designation for an independent citizen detailed to report
to the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies on any irregular activity in potentially sensitive areas .
Tamba- Tamba, The Duke repeated for emphasis, was an independent state...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

John Jackson Stock (1829-1862)

John Jackson Stock was the grandson of Dreadful mutineer John Stock.
From an early age he showed a prodigious talent for drawing.
At the age of four John Jackson's talent brought him to the attention of Governor Sir Harvey Graves and in turn Lucius Goldmann, the Swiss born drawing master that Sir Harvey had brought to the island to teach his daughters.
On his return to London Goldmann wrote enthusiastically to The Times regarding 'this Tamba- Tamba wonder'.
As he matured Stock sent samples of his work to Goldmann in England, and Goldmann provided him with annual consignments of materials whilst stimulating interest in Stock's work.
Initially Stock could not be enticed to leave his island home. However, in 1851 he sailed to England on HMS Miranda along with the departing garrison.
Although Stock made a favourable impression on such luminaries as John Ruskin and D.G. Rossetti, the Victorian Art establishment (and polite society in general) was essentially closed to a dark skinned person. Stock was unable to secure patronage or enrol at classes in any of the leading art schools.
He was frequently on the verge of destitution, depressed and addicted to alcohol and laudanum.
Stock had to work his passage back to Tamba- Tamba, and he returned disillusioned in 1859.
None of his canvasses survive and his reputation today rests on a series of sketches and illustrations.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


This period in the island's history can be viewed as a sort of interregnum.
As Governor Sir Brougham Sleight, it appeared, was the agent of the British Government and the representative Queen Victoria, notionally holding the prerogative powers of the monarch.
The true seat of power on Tamba- Tamba was The Council, under the leadership of Leading Citizen John Cox.
Cox believed that any attempt to overthrow Sir Brougham would bring the English back in force.
On the other hand, if the islanders indulged Sir Brougham in his grandiloquent fantasies , occasionally allowing him to enjoy some folly that would re-enforce his regal delusion , they could, in effect, be self governing in much the same fashion as their forefathers had been.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Hargreaves Hornbill

Antracoceros Hargreavesia

John Jackson Stock drew this fantastic male hornbill in about 1850. At the time it was already noted that there were very few hornbills on Tamba- Tamba.
Caetano do Tristao humorously named the island Tome- Tome in reference to the mournful honking call of the hornbill.
Three factors led to the extinction of this noble bird.
1- Its meat was exceptionally good.
2- During the Imperial era there was a growing export market for its feathers.
3- Deforestation of the interior.

By the time that Jefferson Stock was writing an article for the Royal Geographical Society on the work of H. H. Hargreaves in 1895 he noted:
It is many a year since anyone observed even a single Horn Bill on Tamba- Tamba...

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The Garrison Departs...

Marines on the Quay, May 15th 1851

Officers of HMS Miranda

By 1850 the garrison at Tamba- Tamba had become something of a joke in the British armed forces.
From the time of its establishment in 1795, no shot had ever been fired in anger, and the Slave Revolt of 1800 was the only time that the troops had had to impose any sort of authority over the islanders.
The pleasant climate, relative freedom from disease and regular contact with a number of Wessel's island women who had relocated to Cocktown made it something of a plum posting.

An Act of Parliament (13 & 14 Vict c.65) concerned with the restructuring of military services in the colonies led to the withdrawal of troops from several minor outposts of the Empire.
When Major Lutwidge Reynolds arrived at Tamba- Tamba in January 1851 in order to oversee the dissolution of the military presence, Sir Brougham Sleight was seized with panic. He had been governor for 16 years, and yet he was unsure of his relationship with the islanders. To what extent did the garrison prevent lawlessness? On what basis was he to assert his authority? Sir Brougham briefly considered leaving his post. He also considered travelling to London in person, but was dissuaded from doing so by Major Lutwidge Reynolds. He petitioned Prime Minister Lord John Russell and received a reassuring reply from Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Viscount Palmerston.
It would be unwise, wrote Palmerston, for Her Majesty's representative to suggest to his charges through his actions that his authority rests entirely on the presence of a military force in their midst. Her Majesty's Government is bound to afford protection to our fellow subjects abroad and require you to reassure the people of Tamba (sic) that as the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say Civis Romanus sum; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England, will protect him against injustice and wrong.

On May 15th 1851 Major Lutwidge Reynolds reviewed the party of 24 Royal Marines who constituted the last British military presence on Tamba- Tamba.
They marched to Cocktown Quay where they embarked on HMS Miranda.

John Cox suggested to the Council that Sir Brougham was a necessary burden in that his presence, albeit without any military back-up, still afforded Tamba- Tamba a degree of protection from harassment.
The Council agreed to pursue a policy of co operation with the Governor and his staff to ensure 'that the best interests of our people are served'.
Sir Brougham was always flattered by anything that hinted that the islanders viewed him as some sort of benevolent patriarch. John Cox went to great pains to reassure Sir Brougham that the islanders would not rebel as soon as the soldiers left. His plans were far more subtle than that...

The illustrations are by the celebrated Tamba- Tamba artist John Jackson Stock .
Source: Jasper Ridley, Lord Palmerston (London: Constable, 1970).

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Lady Margaret

Whereas a number of Tamba-Tambamen proudly claim descent from Thomas Lazenby Cock the name Cock itself is now unknown on the island.
This is due to the genteel influence of Lady Margaret Sleight ( 1827- 1860). When Sir Brougham Sleight's first wife passed away he married the daughter of a cousin. 28 years his junior, Lady Margaret was the polar opposite of the earthy Sir Brougham. Arriving in 1848, she found life in Tamba- Tamba harsh and primitive, and was frequently ill. Lady Margaret carried Victorian gentility to the extreme, and was embarrassed by the immodesty and forthrightness of the islanders.
Amongst her affectations was the refusal to utter anything that alluded to profanity or indelicacy, for example, she referred to cockerels as 'hens companions'. In her letters and diaries she referred to Cocktown simply as 'the town'.
On learning that she would be expected to address a significant percentage of her new neighbours, regardless of age or sex by their surname, Cock, she fell into what her husband described as 'an hysterical apoplexy'.

John Cox Cock

In order to ease Lady Margaret's discomfort John Cock, the first Leading Citizen to realize the diplomatic potential of that position, (critics might label him ambitious and desiring of finding favour with the English) assumed the name Cox (with a silent x). Cox, it was argued, had none of the bawdy overtones of Cock. Lady Margaret had been familiar with the Cox family of Winchester in her childhood, and saw nothing improper in the name.
Such was the charismatic influence of John Cox that other members of The Island's First Family followed suite. When Jefferson Stock wrote the first history of Tamba- Tamba in 1880 he referred to Thomas Lazenby Cock as 'Thomas Cox' throughout.
Cox (with a silent x) is the most common name on Tamba- Tamba as of 2010.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Sport at Tamba- Tamba- The Great Prize Fight

Whilst 1848 passed Tamba- Tamba by without any disruption of the status quo, The Year of Revolution did witness a remarkable sporting event in Cocktown.
Under other circumstances this might have been considered the Heavy Weight Championship of the English Prize Ring.
Amongst the dozen or so immigrants to Tamba- Tamba from Brougham Sleight's Dorsetshire estates was one Ezra Makepeace. Based in Bristol, he had been a favourite of the fancy, but retired from the ring following a fatal riot at one of his bouts at Landsdowne fair.
Thomas 'Sailor' Mowlam had fought a number of high profile bouts in his youth, when he was a bargeman on the Thames. Since joining the Merchant Navy his boxing activities had been limited. He arrived at Cocktown aboard the clipper Shirley- Maria.

Governor Sir Brougham Sleight was a keen sportsman, and he and his gentlemen friends at the garrison had been toying with the idea of arranging a prizefight for some time. Captain Preston Wilkins of the Royal Marines was an aficionado of pugilism, and when he recognised Mowlam at the quays he couldn't wait to tell the Governor.
Governor Sleight and Capt. Wilkins considered several challengers , but Makepeace was the only realistic option.

Governor Sleight coaxed Makepeace out of retirement with the promise of a watch and a fowling piece if he took part in the bout.
The officers of the Shirley- Maria, HMS Hardy (which was docked in Cocktown at the time) and the garrison raised a purse of 50 gns.
The bout was fought at The Quays under London Prize Ring Rules. Captain Wilkins and Mr Stannard, the First Mate of the Shirley- Maria, acted as umpires.

Makepeace- 28 years old. Five feet eleven inches, 183 lbs.

Mowlam- 30 years old. Six feet. 190 lbs.

The battle got off to a slow start, with neither man landing any really punishing blows and hardly any falls. It became evident though, that Makepeace was in better shape, and once he had hurt Mowlam a couple of times the Sailor seemed to lose heart. After 20 minutes Mowlam was struggling for his wind and stayed down after taking a fierce blow to his belly.
The crowd were roused by the fine performance of both pugilists, who were carried shoulder high to The Customs House.
The bout had proved a popular attraction, and a minor wave of boximania took hold. A series of bouts featuring sailors, marines and boys was arranged, but Makepeace could not be induced to return to the prize ring and as the quality was not up to that provided by him and Mowlam, interest soon waned.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Flying Saucer Mania

Wessel's Island Legend.
When the time comes the Spirit of all life will visit. It will not come by sea, as men do. It will not come by land, as men do. It will come from the sky. And all the people shall see it, like the sun itself. Then there will be people where now there are no people, and houses where now there are no houses. But most of all men will be shown things that before they could not see, and they will hear things that before they could not hear. And the Spirit of all life will give them knowledge. At this time all men will become wise...

In 1976 Tamba- Tamba was gripped by Flying Saucer Mania.
On May 20th a Palmerston schoolboy, 12 year old Cook Makepeace, reported having seen a large, disk-like object hovering above Gough Hump. During the next four months there were a total of 12 separate sightings of unidentified flying objects in the skies over Tamba- Tamba. 14 year old Connor Cox, of Cox Plantation, described being followed by a beam of light from a hovering saucer, and struggling against a strong magnetic force before losing consciousness. Remarkably a number of photographs were taken:

Local writer Donald Rowley became completely immersed in the mystery, and spent years investigating, making interviews and corresponding with UFO experts from all over the world.

Donald Rowley

Cynics were inclined to put the sightings down to some form of mass hysteria , particularly when the first few sightings were reported by young people. Attitudes changed however when prominent citizens joined the ranks of the witnesses. For example, 72 year old Mason Greene described a trio of 'saucers' moving in a choreographed formation over Berry Sands.

Mason Greene

Major Ambrose addressed the Council and stated that it was his belief that the 'aircraft' were Soviet spy planes. His assertion that the security of the island was under threat led to something of a panic, with members of the public demanding that the Council approach either the USA or Britain for help.

Cook Makepeace

Donald Rowley invited prominent UFOlogist Dr Viktor Buschmann to Tamba- Tamba to consider the evidence in person ( this cost Rowley thousands of US$ out of his own pocket to arrange).
Incredibly, when questioned by Dr Buschmann both Cook Makepeace and Connor Cox said that they had made their stories up.
This still left ten sightings and the photographs, but the Council were happy to dismiss the whole affair as a hoax...

Connor Cox now: Doesn't want to talk about UFOs...

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Capra Wessalia

Goats are very important on Tamba- Tamba.
do Tristao mentioned herds of wild goats in his account of the island.
Wessel's islanders had kept domesticated goats for centuries before the arrival of the Dutch.
Several goats were taken from Wessel's on board the Dreadful, and the majority of the domesticated goats on Tamba-Tamba are descended from this stock.
No cow has ever set foot on the island, and goats have provided generations of islanders with milk, cheese and meat.
Even in the downtown Palmerston you will see goats grazing in vacant lots.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


Governor Sir Brougham Sleight was convinced that Tamba- Tamba, as tiny as it was, might have some role to play in the great industrialisation that was sweeping the world.
For reasons that remain unclear he harboured the strong belief that coal would be found on the island, and in 1850 he instigated an excavation of Gough's Hump, the highlands at the centre of the island.
A cutting was excavated on the south western slope. At a depth of approximately 'one fathom' the workmen uncovered some very large bones. The bones were not an intact skeleton, and no skull was ever found, so it was not possible to tell from what sort of animal they came.
The islanders were quick to decide that the bones had belonged to giants who had inhabited the islands ( Wessel's Island legends spoke of giants). Within two generations every child on the island knew the story of how the diggers had unearthed the Graveyard of Giants and how those involved in the excavation of the bones had met untimely deaths...

A selection of the bones are still kept at the May 15th Museum.
No coal was ever found on Tamba- Tamba.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Hugh Horton Hargreaves

Thanks to the nepotistic influence of his brother, the leader of the HMS Badger Expedition, Captain Charles Hargreaves RN, Hugh Horton Hargreaves spent more than a year in the archipelago studying the fauna.
On his return to London he published of his Theory of Selective Evolution, which was based on his observations of the ways in which the isolated animals of the archipelago had developed, seemingly in a response to the environment. The publication of his Theory of Selective Evolution caused a furore, and ultimately led to his incarceration in Bedlam.
Hargreaves stated that he had established that all species descended over time from common ancestors,and proposed the theory that this branching pattern of resulted from a process that he called selective evolution.

In the face of opposition from theologists and the scientific establishment, Hargreaves became increasingly paranoid, and made the rash decision to bolster his theory by including references to non existent species. His detailed fabrications of the habits of such invented creatures as Hargreaves sea-otter and Hargreaves Walrus make fascinating reading, but ultimately detracted from the scientific value of his actual work.

One lasting testimony to Hargreaves' important work on Tamba- Tamba is the large number of previously unclassified animals that now bear the prefix 'Hargreaves'.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The HMS Badger Expedition

The name Hargreaves Archipelago appeared for the first time on the charts published by the Royal Navy in 1830 . These were produced by Captain Charles Horton Hargreaves.
In 1826 the Admiralty had revealed plans for an expedition to ' the colony of Tamba- Tamba and the attendant archipelago...'
The main purpose of the expedition was to conduct a hydrographic survey of the area in order to to produce nautical charts showing navigational and sea depth information for naval war or commerce, along with drawings of the hills as seen from the sea showing measured heights of the hills.
It was also proposed to expand on the work of the Sir Surtees Gough expedition and gather more information on the island itself.
The vessel chosen was HMS Badger , a Cherokee class 10-gun brig-sloop.
The expedition , a year in the planning, was to be led by Captain Charles Horton Hargreaves RN (1798-1838).
Captain Hargreaves pulled some strings at the Admiralty to find a role for his brother, Hugh Horton Hargreaves (1801-1862) on the expedition. A keen naturalist and skilled draughtsman who saw himself as a second Sir Joseph Banks, Hugh Horton Hargreaves had studied medicine at Edinburgh before moving on to Cambridge to study marine biology. In fact, whilst at college, he had bombarded Sir Joseph Banks with letters of admiration in which he also outlined his various theories at great length.
Captain Hargreaves would concentrate on the surveying and charting whilst Hugh Horton would take more interest in the natural history of the region.
The Badger sailed from Plymouth on September 1st 1827.

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Hargreaves Archipelago from Space

Thanks to our friends at Google here we can see what Hargreaves Archipelago looks like from space!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


The language of Tamba- Tamba is English.
From the day the mutineers set foot on the island right up until the present day, that is the way it has been.
Modern Tamba- Tamba English has been described as sounding somewhere between Australian English and the English of the Welsh Valleys, full of singsong rhythms and rising inflections . There is a smattering of loan words from the language of Wessel's island and a large number of slang words that are exclusive to Tamba- Tamba.
Academics at PROTT Academy have conducted studies into the so-called languages of other post colonial island communities and come to the conclusion that these various pidgins and creole languages are essentially of the same nature as Tamba- Tamba English. They have no standardised spelling and simple grammatical constructions, and if one looks at written approximations of speech the fact that they are English is readily identifiable.

Here are some examples:
Pitkern: About ye gwen? =Where are you going?
Torres: Dhis dhamba ya i prapa naiswan. = This bread is really nice (this damper here is a proper nice one).
Tamba- Tamba rendered in the same manner: Mi brar gorn arten hizbowt = my brother has gone out on his boat.

It's plain English!
You could render the same phrases spoken in many parts of England itself in a manner designed to give them the appearance of arcane, endangered lingos.
I asked PROTT Academy Professor of Linguistics Seymour Rowley for his views and his answer was emphatic : Tammermen hi tok right Inlish fershoe!