The First Pilot

A Pilot Station, a mystery, a headland and an ancient heritage

Award winning Australian Writer Jonathan Drane depicts the history of a Pilot Station on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, where he has spent many years holidaying but was unable to remain oblivious to the powerful and mystical presence and deep history of the station which holds a mystery. 

The station is a remnant of the light house and pilot era of Australian maritime navigation and stands on a headland facing the Pacific Ocean. It holds a position on the coastline which has seen tragic death and accidental ship wrecks over the centuries. It also holds a mystery in the unexplained death of Frances Williams the wife of the first pilot-boatman who was buried in a shallow sand grave on the grounds of the Pilot Station at the age of 27 leaving three children behind to Isaac her husband. In the unfolding of her tragic story, the dramatic history of the valley and the remnants of the indigenous people’s place in the valley also becomes evident along with the footprint of their life and time which is imprinted in the land upon which the station sits.

In Jonathan’s first historical novel based on detailed research, called ‘The First Pilot’ and prompted by observations and events while holidaying at the station with his own children, he weaves a haunting picture of the station, the first pilots, the timber and lime burner industries that invaded the valley and the first people; the indigenous inhabitants of the headland and the presence they still hold for those who visit.