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Pacific Civilisation: A Hidden History?

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In April 1925, the disabled steam yacht Alert was towed into Sydney Harbour. The sole surviving crewman, Gustaf Johansen, told a fantastic tale of cultic piracy, a risen island, and a monstrous sea beast. A hideous winged idol discovered aboard the ship was delivered to the Australian Museum. A scholarly symposium was called to discuss its mysterious provenance and identity. The advertisement for the symposium was carried in various scientific journals and was much discussed in occult periodicals and other, even less public, circles. And the ships came.

Daz Studio and Photoshop. Click for full size version. Also available as a PDF (6 Meg).

A rare old piece of Australian History

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The Sydney Bulletin went under in the Great Depression. That fine old Surry Hills tabloid is little remembered these days, but one of its claims to immortality is that the paper’s reporting of the Alert incident in 1925 provided one of the inspirations for H.P. Lovecraft’s novella, ‘The Call of Cthulhu’.

After some research (‘midst ancient tomes by midnight at the Australian Museum in College Street) I am pleased to be able to share the front page of the Sydney Bulletin of April 18 1925. The now-famous headline reports the arrival of the Alert at Darling Harbour after a terrifying encounter in the South Pacific.

Click for a high quality PDF copy of the Sydney Bulletin front page of April 18, 1925. (PDF 4 Meg)

MYSTERY DERELICT FOUND AT SEA

Vigilant Arrives With Helpless Armed New Zealand Yacht in Tow. One Survivor and Dead Man Found Aboard. Tale of Desperate Battle and Deaths at Sea. Rescued Seaman Refuses Particulars of Strange Experience. Odd Idol Found in His Possession. Inquiry to Follow.