Photo by Michael Gill

Click on the name of each speaker to learn more about that individual.


Captain Sean Bercaw (Massachusetts): 
Tall ship captain and Sea Education Association sailing instructor
Title of Talk:  "Pitcairn Islands:  The Bercaw Family's Four Trips:  1951, 1972, 1987, 2002" 

Video of talk   PowerPoint slide show with images (67 MB)
August 2013 update Since BPC 2012 I've been refitting Tiare Taporo, an old Canadian fishing vessel, into a sail-assisted inter-island cargo ship for the Cook Islands.  Conceived by a group of entrepreneurs including Dan Moreland, captain of Picton Castle which has sailed to Pitcairn Island six times, the idea is to fill the need of consistent service to these isolated island communities.  Encountering logistical challenges similar to Pitcairners, the difficulties these islanders face include getting back and forth to the main island of Rarotonga and the timely arrival of supplies.  Utilizing this smaller, more nimble cargo vessel, the plan is to create consistent service to the outer Cook Islands, with additional periodic trips to Pitcairn and the Line Islands.  See  Although funding challenges have plagued the project, we hope to be underway by late August 2013, headed through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific.  Also, after having floated for over a decade, another bottle from my Message in a Bottle Project was retrieved.  See

Mark A. Butterline (Massachusetts): 
Immediate Past President, Pitcairn Islands Study Group (2007-2011) and Pitcairn philatelist
Title of Talk:  Pitcairn Island:  Post Office and Community 

Video of talk   PowerPoint slide show with images (10 MB)
August 2013 update I assumed the presidency of the Northeast Federation of Stamp Clubs in 2013, and from September 2013 I will also serve as interim treasurer of the Pitcairn Islands Study Group.

Jacqui Christian (Pitcairn Island):
Fletcher Christian descendant, Pitcairn resident and Pitcairn Travel partner 
Title of Talk:   "Back to the Future:  Jacqui Christian, who grew up on Pitcairn Island, returned after 20 years of successfully living overseas to offer her skills and experience to contribute to creating Pitcairn's future.  This is a story that will encourage."   

Video of talk   Short summary text of talk (PDF)
August 2013 update:  I have continued my service on the Pitcairn Island Council, holding the community development portfolio with responsibility for health, immigration, education and welfare.  I headed Pitcairn's delegation to the European Union's Overseas Countries and Territories Summit in Greenland in September 2012 and am due to represent Pitcairn at the next European Union Forum in Brussels in December 2013.  I am now also the editor of Miscellany, the Pitcairn monthly newspaper.  My father, Tom, passed away on July 7, 2013.  While this caused great sadness, many wonderful and heartfelt tributes have been received from around the world.  Thank you to all.

Ted Cookson (Egypt and Florida) - Representative of Conference Co-Sponsors
President, Pitcairn Islands Study Group and Pitcairn author

August 2013 update Circumstances forced me to pack out of Cairo finally on July 9, 2013 after 30 years of living in Egypt.  I gave away most of my belongings there and handed over my travel agency to three employees who will try to carry on at a new but nearby location.  I will be based in Hollywood, FL until mid-January 2014.  Then, following an 89-day cruise on Crystal Serenity on which Barbara and I will host another Virtuoso Voyager Club group in early 2014, I intend to look for employment elsewhere in the Middle East.  On September 1, 2013 I will conclude my two-year term as PISG president.


Ron Edwards (Melbourne, Australia and Norfolk Island): 
Pitcairn Islands Study Group Director-at-Large and Pitcairn numismatist
Title of talk:  “Pitcairn’s Coinage:  A Difficult & Varied Program of
Limited Success”
Video of talk   Text of talk (PDF)
August 2013 update Attending BPC 2012 provided me with my first glimpse of the U. S. and allowed me to meet many attendees of varied backgrounds, all of whom shared an interest in our favorite Island.  Since then, I have continued to delve into the field of Pitcairn's coinage and am still lobbying for changes in current policies vis-a-vis authorization, distribution and availability of the coins issued in the name of Pitcairn Islands.  It is my strong belief that, if some changes were carried out, interest by coin collectors would increase considerably.  This would generate additional, much-needed revenue just as stamps have done for Pitcairn over the last 73 years.  Currently my wife and I are back in Melbourne, Australia as we undertake the major task of packing our personal belongings for a move to our new home, the construction of which is now well underway on Norfolk Island.

Herbert Ford (California) - Conference Host
Director, Pitcairn Islands Study Center and Pitcairn author
Title of talk:  "Pitcairn:  Survival by Ship"

Video of talk   Text of talk (PDF)
August 2013 update My work with the Pitcairn Islands Study Center has continued unabated with the notable increase of a “Transportation” page on the Center’s web site – that includes a passenger ship schedule to the island and a photographic log of every sea-going vessel calling at Pitcairn Island.  Two recent major gifts to the Study Center, one from the avid Pitcairn collector Maurice Allward, and the other from Pitcairn collector Rex Hickox, have been received and assimilated into the Center’s collection.  An attractive “In Memory” plaque has recently been placed in a central part of the Study Center.  On this donor plaque will appear the names of those friends of Pitcairn who relatives or friends wish to honor in this way. Also, a major fund-raising campaign to create an endowment that will underwrite the annual operating expenses of the Center throughout the future was under way during the latter part of 2013.  A significant contributor to this fund has been the proceeds from the sale of the excellent, five-disc set of the entire BPC 2012 program.

Leslie Jaques OBE (Pitcairn Island):
Former Commissioner for the Pitcairn Islands (2003-2010), Pitcairn resident and Pitcairn Travel partner
Title of talk:  "
A Retrospective on 'Seven Years of Plenty'"
Video of talk   Text of talk (PDF)
August 2013 update I continue to work for the betterment of Pitcairn both in my government role as Island Secretary and within the community. Pitcairn is actively seeking new immigrants both from its own diaspora and from others seeking opportunity.  In addition, Pitcairn Travel has begun taking bookings for the 2014 season.  Life is always busy but also rewarding.  I will travel to Brussels in December 2012 as a member of Pitcairn's delegation to the next European Union Forum.

Bob Kirk, PhD (California):
Semi-retired university history professor 
Title of talk:  "Some Highlights of Pitcairn History"
Video of talk   Summary text of talk   PowerPoint slide show with images (29 MB, not shown at BPC 2012)
August 2013 update I lectured to groups ranging from 200 to 350 aboard the Oceania Marina in February 2013.  We visited Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Santo in Vanuatu, Noumea in New Caledonia, Fiji, and three ports in New Zealand.  I also taught a class on the World War II Home Front at Sonoma State University in April and May 2013.  With my wife, Barbara, I attempted to cruise the Danube River in June 2013.  However, due to flooding, we had to leave the ship in Belgrade and travel overland to Budapest.  The cruise took us to Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia.  After the cruise we spent several days each in Budapest and Prague before returning home to California.

Donald A. Maxton (New York): 
Bounty Saga author
Title of talk:  "'Mutiny' in the Magazine Section:  Bounty, Pitcairn and the Popular Press"

Video of talk   Text of PowerPoint slide show (PDF)   PowerPoint slide show with images (50 MB)
August 2013 update:  At BPC 2012 it was announced that my new book would appear in the spring of 2013.  Innocent on the Bounty:  The Court-Martial and Pardon of Midshipman Peter Heywood, in Letters, published by McFarland, is now available on and through McFarland Publishing.  I co-edited this volume with renowned Bounty scholar Rolf du Rietz of Uppsala, Sweden.  This is the first complete publication of a rare collection of letters and poems written from 1790 to 1792 -- many of which have never appeared in print -- telling the true story of Peter Heywood, the young Royal Navy midshipman on H.M.S. Bounty wrongly accused of mutiny, and his devoted sister, Nessy, who worked tirelessly to save him from being condemned and executed for this crime. This edition is a faithful transcription of a manuscript held at the Newberry Library in Chicago, one of only five surviving manuscripts.  It features a comprehensive introduction, a textual postscript, notes and appendices, a select bibliography, numerous illustrations, and an index.  I also have two Bounty-related projects in the development stage:  an article for The UK Log on some little-known manuscript material pertaining to Nessy Heywood and a new book about the Pandora voyage, a dramatic episode in the Bounty Saga of which few people are aware outside the circle of Bounty/Pitcairn enthusiasts and scholars.

Peter Muhlhausler, PhD (Adelaide, Australia): 
University linguistics professor
Title of talk:  "Ned Young, Creator of the Linguistic Landscape of Pitcairn Island"
Video of talk   Background text (PDF)
August 2013 update I have continued my work on the Pitkern and Norf'k language.  I have taken two trips to Norfolk Island since BPC 2012, and I ran a major conference on the future of their language and culture in November 2012.  This brought with it a lot of follow up work, particularly the ambitious lexical data base for Pitkern and Norf'k.  One of my Norfolk associates, Mrs. Colleen Crane, has just booked to work on Pitcairn for a few months, and I am very much looking forward to getting her data.  My conference paper and information about the conference are available online here.

Tillman Nechtman, PhD (New York): 
University history professor
Title of talk:  "Joshua Hill, the Self-Instituted King of Pitcairn Island:  Separating the Truth from the Lies"
Video of talk   Text of talk (PDF)
August 2013 update I have become the chair of the history department at Skidmore College, and I will serve in that position for the next four years.  A paperback edition of my first book, Nabobs (on British India), is due out from Cambridge University Press in August 2013, and I have finished drafts of several chapters on my Joshua Hill book.  I hope to have it ready for publication by the summer of 2014, but that is an ambitious schedule.

Steve Pendleton (California): 
Former Managing Editor, The Pitcairn Log (2007-2011) and prolific philatelic author
Title of talk:  "The Neighbors - Pitcairn Isn't Alone (Though It Might Seem So)"
Video of talk   Easter Island article (PDF)   Norfolk Island article (PDF)   Pitcairn Philately (PDF) (6 MB)

August 2013 update Basically I've been vegetating for the last year and haven't even left California.  On this other hand, I will depart for South Georgia in late October 2013!  I am still writing, but it seems that the market is really declining for philatelic articles.  I have had some articles published in Gibbons Stamp Monthly and, with an English friend, I am finishing a book on Easter Island's postal history which should be published in 2013 by the Pacific Islands Study Circle. 

Tony Probst (California): 
Maritime, Bounty, and Pitcairn collector and world traveler 
Title of talk:  "A Photographic Journey through Pitcairn’s Present and Past with Marie Christian and Tony Probst"

Video of talk (Marie speaks in the second half, beginning after 31 minutes) 

Photography by Tony Probst
"Pitcairn Island:  A Walk on the Wild Side," an exciting video by Tony Probst (8:32)
August 2013 update:  I am looking for a building in San Rafael, California in which to open an audio-video store, and I plan to have a section in the store dedicated to my Bounty/Pitcairn collection.  It will be like a museum setting and will be free to the public.

Barbara Stein (Florida) - Conference Moderator
Pitcairn enthusiast, travel agent and world traveler 
August 2013 update:  During the first quarter of 2013 Ted and I hosted a Virtuoso Voyager Club group of about 160 people on the Crystal Serenity 2013 world cruise, which was a 74-day circumnavigation of South America round trip from Miami.  In early 2014 we expect to host another Virtuoso group on the same ship on an 89-day cruise from Los Angeles to Southampton.  Although Ted and I vacated our long-time home in Egypt during the summer of 2013, we continue to enjoy plenty of travel (both international and domestic), family and friends.  

Roger Stuart-Andrews (Melbourne, Australia): 
Retired dentist and historian
Title of talk:  "The Ultimate Fate of Fletcher Christian"
Video of talk   PowerPoint slide show with images (2 MB)
August 2013 update Since BPC 2012 I have not progressed in my Pitcairn studies at all since, just prior to that time, I was rewarded for 32 years of dedication to my daughter by being presented with our first grandchild, a gorgeous little girl who has totally subsumed our lives.  Soon our son will present me with a grandson and that will make it even harder to sit down with my books.  The vineyard still takes up much time.  In addition, our bed and breakfast is getting busier and busier, having been the only one of 60 such establishments mystery-shopped in the Australian state of Victoria to gain 100% ranking in every category.  This takes effort on the part of my wife, Hannah, and myself and leaves little time for intellectual pursuits.  The newly-acquired Pitcairn-owned boat will make my return to the island from New Zealand even easier and cheaper, so I hope to get back there within the next year or so and see Steve and Olive again.  Perhaps this will stimulate a return to my desk.  My memories of BPC 2012 remain indelibly fixed in my memory.  I had a great time and hope others did also.  I am currently reliving some of those moments via the fantastic set of DVDs now available for sale.  The future for me holds the desire to imprint myself on my grandchildren so they will remember me plus to collate my work on the island and its history and possibly to prepare another paper.  Perhaps I will even finish my postgraduate degree with a focus on the island and its history.  I feel its future is in very capable hands.

Marie Christian Thomas (New Mexico):
Fletcher Christian descendent, former Pitcairn resident and Pitcairn author (expected 2012)
Title of talk:  "A Photographic Journey through Pitcairn’s Present and Past with Marie Christian and Tony Probst"

Video of talk (Marie speaks in the second half, beginning after 31 minutes) 
Photography by Marie Christian Thomas

August 2013 update:  In January 2013 my husband, Leroy Thomas, passed away after suffering from muscular dystrophy for a number of years.  I am so glad that we were able to attend BPC 2012.  We had a wonderful trip.  This month would have been our 39th wedding anniversary.  I am doing well, considering everything that has happened.  In April I began taking care of a lady in her home in the evenings.  Then in June her husband offered me a job in his office, and in July he made me the full-time office manager!  The business is Rio Grande Radiological Physics Group.  I am learning a lot and enjoying the work.  I am very blessed to have the job, and he is a wonderful boss.  Since he travels out of town a lot, I still take care of his wife when I am needed -- mostly overnight.  This all keeps me busy, but that is a good thing.  I play the congas at church with our praise and worship team in three services on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.  Also, I have been invited to speak at the International Bounty Festival in Tahiti October 25-27, 2013.  Thank you for your love and prayers, and God bless you all.

Kari Boye Young (Pitcairn Island):
Pitcairn resident and Pitcairn author
Title of talk:  "How the Pitcairners' Resourcefulness Has Enabled Them to Survive in Isolation"

Video of talk   Text of talk (PDF)  

August 2013 update I continue to compile the news for Dem Tull Pitcairn from the Pitcairn side, while Julie adds her comments and does the layout.  I also research Pitcairn genealogy and early history as a personal enterprise and find this fascinating and rewarding.  Many have worked on some aspects of this, but no one has collated it and bound it all together under one umbrella.  I enjoy this tremendously; and that is what retirement is all about - enjoying life after a lifetime of work.  This year I also won the contract for updating our tourist book, Guide to Pitcairn, sourcing new pictures and updating the text.  As the Guide was last published in 1999, extensive revisions were required.  I finished my work in late June, and the volume will be printed and ready for sale on visiting cruise ships by November 2013.


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Last updated December 7, 2015

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