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Illicit CP - July 2003

Corpun file 12241

Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 8 July 2003

Endeavour holiday sailor tied and flogged in public

By Stuart Avery

flogging in progress

WHEN David Sheridan volunteered as a deckhand on the replica of Captain Cook's ship the Endeavour he did not expect to become the boat's whipping boy.

But after complaining about the quality of the food on board he was ordered to receive a public flogging with a length of rope.

Mr Sheridan last night described the experience as the most humiliating of his life.

He told Channel Seven's Today Tonight program the flogging left the imprint of the rope on his skin.

And his mother Cathy said the incident had irrevocably changed him.

"I got a damaged person back" she said.

Mr Sheridan said that after the flogging severe welts appeared on his back and his side.

He was unable to perform his work as a rigger and was confined to his cabin for two days.

picture of sailing ship EndeavourThe trouble started when the ship, which carries a working crew of professionals and volunteers, was en route from Western Australia to Tasmania in 2001.

The ship hit bad weather off the west coast of Tasmania and in order to bolster the crew's spirits the captain ordered the cook to prepare a meal of traditional gruel.

"It was like a bowl of porridge with lots of salt and sea grass in it," said Mr Sheridan, who had volunteered for a fortnight's working holiday aboard.

"When we said it was pretty terrible stuff, the captain, or the bloke dressed up as the captain, decided we deserved punishing for not eating our food," he said.

Video footage of the event shows the captain ordering: "Twelve lashes for insolence for these dogs."

At first playing along -- not realising the extent of the punishment about to be unleashed -- Mr Sheridan and his friend were taken on deck, tied to a raised hatch cover and whipped by the ship's bosun.

Passengers and crew on board the Endeavour gathered to watch -- some murmuring with concern, others giggling.

"It was extremely humiliating," Mr Sheridan said.

"A public flogging was to humiliate people, to break a person," he said.

"As the rope hit, the imprint of the rope came out on my flesh. After the first lash, when I copped the first hit, my mind switched off."

He said all he could think was "this is not happening, what is this all about."

After the ordeal, Mr Sheridan's back was doused with salt water to seal his wounds.

"The salt hitting the raw flesh was terrible, it was painful," he said.

"When it hit me, that's when the real pain of it came to me.

"When I lifted my arm I could see on my skin what looked like rope," he said.

Mr Sheridan said under Maritime Law and the Occupation Health and Safety Act he was powerless to bring legal action.

Corpun file 11674

Portland Observer, Victoria, 11 July 2003

Don't let this happen to anyone else!

By Holly Marsh

DAVID Sheridan still loves the sea, despite receiving injuries when a mock whipping went wrong on the sailing ship Endeavour. Picture: JOSH NASH 30710JN05

A PORTLAND man has this week told of a horrific flogging incident which occurred while he was a volunteer worker on the replica ship, Endeavour.

David Sheridan, then 21, was whipped nine times with a cat-o-nine tails on a voyage in February 2001, as part of a recreation of life on board Captain Cook's 18th Century ship.

Mr Sheridan said he still suffered disturbing flashbacks, but had failed to receive compensation or even an apology from the Endeavour Foundation.

Speaking to the Portland Observer this week Mr Sheridan said the flogging occurred as a mock punishment after he and a friend ate little of the salty gruel offered to them to demonstrate an 18th Century sailor's diet.

"They sort of just tapped (my mate) with it (the whip) and he got a few red marks on him, and then it was my turn.

"The guy really started hoeing in and for the first lash I felt that one immensely and I think my mind took a bit of a wander for the rest."

Following the whipping a bucket of salt water was thrown over the raised red welts on Mr Sheridan's back.

Mr Sheridan said his back was swollen and painful, making it unbearable to wear a safety harness, and he was forced to stay below deck for two days.

Mr Sheridan has been advised by a solicitor that he is unlikely to be compensated for his injuries due to a legal loophole. However, he said he wanted to prevent a similar incident happening to someone else.

"The really sad thing is that it could happen to someone else and there's no law that says you can't whip someone," Mr Sheridan said.

"If you tied your dog up and gave it a hiding like that the RSPCA would be down on you like a tonne of bricks, it doesn't seem to matter if it's a person.

"In a way I'd like compensation, but what I would really like to see is for that to never happen again to anyone."

Mr Sheridan hit out at claims by Endeavour Foundation CEO David Sterrett that he appeared to be enjoying himself at the time.

"If he wants to try that himself, to get an impression of how it really feels, by all means let him try it, but I don't recommend it," Mr Sheridan said.

He said his solicitor had attempted to contact the foundation several times in regard to the incident, despite claims by Mr Sterrett to the contrary.

Mr Sheridan, a second year apprentice fitter at Portland Aluminium, said the ordeal had not scared him off sailing.

"It's not the ship, it's the people who were behind it," he said.

Since the incident Mr Sheridan has sailed on other tall ships as well as enjoying jaunts on his brother's small sailing boat.

"It's just a wonderful thing to be at sea, the wind in your hair with not a care in the world, its just a real freedom -- there's nothing better."

Mr Sheridan, now 24, has lived in Portland for the past 15 years.

He was educated at Portland South Primary School, Portland Secondary College and Heywood and District Secondary College.

1996-2000 Spectator-Observer

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