Prawners Down Under is a sprawling, rollicking book that recounts firsthand the adventurous saga of Brian Bienke’s lifetime of fishing in thewaters of Australia’s New SouthWales and Queensland’s tropical north.Brian’s story follows four generations of his family from the 1920s untilthe present, sailing out of their home base of Byron Bay and thenBrunswick Heads, in northern New SouthWales, into the wild waters thatstretch from Cape York Peninsula, across the vast Gulf of Carpentaria, tothe Northern Territory’s Arafura Sea.
This is a fascinating insight into an era when a tough breed of men andwomen endured continuous hardships and danger to pursue theirlivelihood.
Crocodiles, sharks, and cyclones just some of the risks that had to befaced in an unforgiving environment that punished the unwary withinjuries and sometimes death.
Trawling for prawns is a lucrative business and the rewards can begreat,but it is highly competitive and a fleets of vessels converged onthe best fishing areas each season to outdo each other, often leading to hostile confrontations between crews.
But the rough and tumble fishing world was not without its friendshipsand fun, and Brian’s book has many humorous anecdotes that paint vividpictures of these hardy characters enjoying each other’s company atsea,or around a campfire on isolated beaches around the Gulf.
Prawners Down Under is a no-holds-barred journey through a fishing lifethat is both enthralling and entertaining. It is also a true to lifehistoric record of a time that is vanishing forever.