Narcisse Pelletier: The French Boy Who Lived 17 Years With The Aboriginals

On April 11, 1875, a pearling schooner named John Bell anchored off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The captain, Joseph Frazer, sent some of his men ashore to find water. Upon landing, they encountered a group of Aborigines and noticed a white man among them. Believing the man was being held against his will, they reported the situation to the captain.

Captain Frazer quickly organized a rescue. He sent his men back to barter with the natives, offering valuable goods in exchange for the white man. The natives accepted the trade and released the man. Frazer took him aboard and transported him to the Government outpost at Somerset, located at the tip of Cape York. Although the man did not understand English, he spoke some broken French, and the sailors learned his name was Narcisse Pelletier.

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Portrait of Narcisse Pelletier published in L'Univers illustré, 14 August 1875.


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