Peter Warner

(Taken from Wikipedia). 

Peter Warner is the youngest son of Sir Arthur Warner, who was head of Electronic Industries and one of Australia's richest men of his day.

Warner ran away from home at the age of 17, wanting to sailboats, and not wanting to be a part of his wealthy father's large business. Upon his return a year later, his father made him finish school, and enrol in Law at the University of Melbourne. However after six weeks of studying Law, he ran away to sea again and didn't return for three years. During that time, he served in both the Swedish and Norwegian navies. After learning Swedish, he sat for the exams to obtain a Swedish master's ticket.

Upon returning to Australia, he finally joined his father's business, staying for five years and studying accountancy. While working for his father, as a side business, Warner acquired a small fleet of fishing boats based in Tasmania. From time to time, he would take a break from business and work aboard boats in the fleet.

Skippering his yacht, Astor, Peter Warner won line honours in 1961, 1963, and 1964 in the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The boat was named after the Warner family's household appliance company, Astor Radio Corporation.

The boys had fallen asleep after dropping anchor north of the island of Tongatapu, when a squall broke their anchor rope and they drifted out into wild seas and gale force winds. Their trip to the island lasted eight days, and they needed to constantly bail water from the 24 ft boat. Fortunately, when at anchor they had caught some fish, and by eating it raw were kept sustained during the journey.The boat was beginning to break up when they sighted ?Ata, the southernmost island in the Tongan group.

One of the boys, Sione Filipe Totau, went ashore first to scout the island. The others joined him, but it was nighttime and they were weak from hunger and thirst. That night the boys went hunting, drinking the blood of sea birds and draining their eggs. Once established on the island, they climbed to the top of a volcanic crater where they found wild taro, bananas and chickens descended from those cultivated when the island had been inhabited a century earlier.

By the time Captain Warner arrived, the boys had set up a commune with a food garden, hollowed-out trees to store rainwater, a gymnasium, badminton court, chicken enclosures and a permanent fire.

Upon their return, the boys were greeted by their friends and relatives, who had presumed them dead and held their funerals. However, they were arrested for stealing the boat, as its owner, Mr Taniela Uhila, wanted to press charges. Warner helped the boys get out of jail by paying Mr Uhila for the boat. He also secured the documentary rights to the story, with the boys acting as themselves in the film. He later had a new ship built, and hired the boys as crew.

Author Rutger Bregman has compared the incident to Lord of the Flies, the 1954 novel by William Golding.

In 1968, Warner moved with his family to Tonga and lived there for the next three decades. In 1990, he became a member of the Bahá'í Faith and, in 1996, he helped found the Ocean of Light International School in Tonga, a Bahá'í school.

In the 1990s, Warner’s career turned from fishing and shipping to horticulture, tree management, and the farming of nuts. Several years after returning to Australia in 1998, Warner founded Tree Carers Pty Ltd, a business dedicated to nut farming. 

In April 2021, Peter died suddenly in Ballina,  details of his passing were reported in the New York Times, Click here.
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