Fantome Island

Published by Black Ink Press QLD.

Author. Kathy Gibson.

Photos supplied by Kathy Gibson

RRP. $15.

Illustrations Jack bell.


Suitable for mainstream market.

Reviewed by Vicki griffin.

Fantome Island is an honest account about the days when Indigenous Australians lived out their lives as lepers. It is sad to read and Kathy Gibson and Jack Bell who were residents of Palm Island talk about what is was like. The pictures combined with their memories makes fascinating reading and every Australian should read this book as it is part of history.

The description of the little cottages nestled on the hill overlooking the sea is very visual and had me turning the pages for more. I could almost visualize another row of little houses standing in a row that housed the patients. It is incredible that visitors were not allowed to visit and that from 1918 until 1970 nuns were still working with patients until it was closed down.

Fantome Island is one of those books that makes one uncomfortable especially when one reads how babies were taken from mothers because of this contagious disease, however as the story states it had to be done. Their children grew up in foster homes on Palm Island and other faraway places. This is a thought provoking interesting look at history told in an easy to understand manner and would definitely benefit libraries and school libraries. Pictures of the author and illustrator in the back of the book bring a sense of knowing about the story and a sense of pride that one has had the privilege to read this book and look at the personal photographs throughout. Highly recommended.

A Bug in a Book review by Vicki Griffin.

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