Tom Neale and Suwarrow atoll

Thomas Francis Neale was born on 6th of November 1902 in New Zealand. At the age of 18 he joined Royal New Zealand Navy. Tom traveled to different island of the Pacific ocean, studied local life and was choosing in island just for himself. He spent almost 7 years wandering from one island to another while working on merchant ships.

 

Tom Neale on his lovely island

Tom Neale on his lovely island

In 1928 Thomas settled down on Tahiti and enjoyed his life there till 1943. Afterwards he was offered to work as a storekeeper on Cook Islands. There he met a writer Robert Frisbee, who told Thomas about Suwarow atoll. After a while Thomas decided to move on that atoll and live there the rest of his life.

Atoll Suwarrow from space

Atoll Suwarrow from space

 

He was getting prepared for a few years and eventually moved to Suwarrow in 1952. He took with himself different supplies like food, tobacco, different tools and volcano stones to make himself an oven. Also he brought two cats in case he needed to get rid of island rats. Few years back there was a military base which left a good cabin, some useful tools. Nevertheless, a lot of abandoned by military people pigs and chickens became wild and made a vast population on the atoll.

Tom's house, nowadays

Tom’s house, nowadays

 

As time passed Thomas got used to life of a Robinson. He made an impressive infrastructure for himself: he made a paddock for chickens, a boat, and cultivated different vegetables.

Inside of Tom's house

Inside of Tom’s house

 

Neale lived alone but sometimes random sailors visited him. Of course, Thomas was a huge interest for them. Thomas was really hospitable and open for anyone.

Tom in process of hunting

Tom in process of hunting

After Thomas was badly injured he left Suwarrow. He lived on Rarathonga island ro another 6 years before he mode to Suwarrow again. He lived there almost until 1964, when he realized he had to do something with his life. Moreover, a lot of pearl divers appeared on his island and they irritated Thomas. In December 1963 he left the island, but later returned again in 1967, to live here till the end of his days.

Tom Neale enjoyed his wild way of life

Tom Neale enjoyed his wild way of life

Neale lived on his favorite island till 1977 when he died from cancer. You can find a memorial of Tom Neale on his lovely island, somewhere near the palm

Tom Neale's memorial

Tom Neale’s memorial

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