A group of convicts escape from Norfolk Island in a boat. Only one survives – by killing and eating his companions en route for sustenance until he arrives on Badu Island. He takes over leadership of the natives by besting – then decapitating – the chief. The natives believe him to be the reincarnation of Wongai, friend of the gods, and accept him without question. Their acceptance is tinged with reverence when they
discover that he is an astute war leader and knows something of agriculture. This tale of the European convict who rose to power in the 1840s as a tribal chief, is based on fact – from the ships log of the HMS Rattlesnake, captained by Owen Stanley. Billy Winn, an escaped convict from Norfolk Island, had, through a reign of terror and treachery, cowed the most fearful of all peoples – the Coral Sea headhunters.