By Tom Neale, Noel Barber

Thomas Francis "Tom" Neale (November 6, 1902 - November 27, 1977)[1] was once a brand new Zealander bushcraft and survival fanatic who spent a lot of his existence within the cook dinner Islands and sixteen years in 3 classes dwelling by myself at the island of Anchorage within the Suwarrow atoll, which was once the root of this autobiography.

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The cook-house did not present much of a problem, and though I dumped my volcanic stones in a corner, there was no time yet for the labourious business of making a native oven, and I contented myself at first with finding two suitably shaped stones on which to rest my bars of iron for simple cooking over an open fire. In another corner I kept a box of wooden chips and some kindling wood. The only thing I missed was a good, wood-burning stove, like the one on which I had cooked in Moorea. They are simple to use, economical with wood, and make it much easier to keep the cookhouse tidy.

I asked him. He looked around, then followed me into the bedroom which was separated from the office by a partition five-foot high, with a narrow slip serving as a door. I opened up the other shutters. This room was double the length of the first room, and to my astonishment contained a bed. It had never entered my head that I would find a bed as for some reason I had assumed the coast-watchers would have been equipped with camp beds and I had been cheerfully resigned to sleeping on the floor until I built one.

Almost before the last of my packages had been deposited in the shack, five giggling women were squatting on my veranda burdened with fronds. They worked to such good effect that over half a new roof had been finished before the Mahurangi sailed the following morning. I had little time that first evening to explore my island. Indeed, all I could do was unpack the few necessities I required, for as I wrote on the first page of my journal, "Haven’t had time for a proper look around, but I can see miles of work sticking out.

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