Melbourne-born Ray Parkin (1910-2005) was an omnivorous reader and gifted artist who largely educated himself and became a fine maritime painter. He spent eighteen years in the Royal Australian Navy, including three years as a prisoner of war of the Japanese during World War 2. After the war he became a waterfront tally clerk and wrote of his wartime experiences in Out of the Smoke, Into the Smother and The Sword and the Blossom, all published to critical acclaim by The Hogarth Press, London, in the 1960s. After his retirement Ray spent many years researching, writing and illustrating his remarkable, award-winning work H. M. Bark Endeavour, published in 1997 by Melbourne University Press.
""The book is a not a mere chronicle of human cruelty and misery, but holds implicitly a commentary on human nature that is relevant outside the camp still."