About Peter Purchase
In the News
Read some print reviews of The Albatross Necklace
Peter Purchase was born in 1940 in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, where he lived before moving to Kenya in 1946. He was educated in boarding schools located in Nairobi from the age of 8. He left school and home at 17 and lived for brief periods in the Netherlands, England and Wales – where he spent a year studying for an Arts degree at the University College of Bangor, eventually abandoning his studies to travel through France and Italy. Back in Kenya in late 1959, he completed his National Service in the Kenya Regiment, spent 6 months painting in the Seychelles and then crewed aboard the cargo vessel Kenilworth Castle visiting Mauritius, India, Sri Lanka and Lebanon, eventually signing off in Tilbury, London. He then travelled through Scotland, France and Spain before migrating to Perth in Western Australia in June 1963, where he qualified as a High School teacher, met and married Jeanne and settled down to raise Paul, Karen and Michael.
Purchase taught languages at Cannington and Karratha High Schools for 8 years, before giving teaching away to sign on as a railway construction truck driver in the north-west iron ore mining country of the Pilbara. At the end of the railway contract in 1972 he invested the money he’d saved in a fishing venture, trying his hand at diving commercially for tropical crayfish. While the lifestyle was second to none, the catches were minimal and the profits non-existent, so he transferred to the Hamersley Iron mining company, where he eventually secured an advisory role in Human Resources. He spent 15 years with Hamersley Iron on the mine sites at Tom Price and Paraburdoo, at the port of Dampier and in Perth Head office before joining alumina producer Nabalco on the Gove peninsula in Arnhem Land for 7 years and then the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Tabubil in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province, where he spent the next 10 years. He retired in 2008 and moved back to Perth, where he currently resides.
Purchase wrote the first sentence of The Man who lit the Flame in April 1997, during his first week in Tabubil; and in 2001 he began his second novel Survivors of the Storm before completing the first. He researched and wrote both novels simultaneously, writing in his spare time and during his fly-in fly-out leave breaks, travelling as far afield as Cape Town, Amsterdam, Middelburg and Prague to examine their archives and explore relevant historical sites.
He completed both novels in 2011. It was then clear that the characters and storylines were so closely interlinked the novels lost something in translation standing alone – so he decided to include them as 2 parts of a single novel under the overarching title The Albatross Necklace. With the final 200,000 word script rejected by several publishers, Purchase decided to self-publish. 2012 was a critical deadline: that year marked the tri-centenary of the 1712 sinking of the Zuytdorp, so he established Dune Publishing and the book came off the presses on 12th December that year.
The book is dedicated to those who perished in the Zuytdorp disaster, to those who made it ashore and to the Malgana people who rescued them three hundred years ago.