You are invited to the launching of a new biography of a forgotten Hawkesbury hero at the Regional Hawkesbury Museum in Windsor on 7 October at 2pm.
Frederick Whirlpool is a name not likely in your databank, whether online or in your memory. But the fascinating story is one that fills huge gaps in the life of an ordinary man whose life deserves factual interpretation. Buried in an unmarked grave in Windsor, his is an anguished narrative.
Arriving in Victoria in 1859, Fredrick became a volunteer rifleman and school teacher, but his story begins much earlier in Ireland and before joining the East India Company Army.
East India Company Insignia
Historian and decorated veteran of the NSW Police force, retired Superintendent Alan Leek writes of the first Victoria Cross pinned to an Australian uniform -- of Whirlpool's valour during the Indian Mutiny which earned him the VC but left him with severe sword wounds and ultimately ended his military career.
'The Campaign in India 1857 - 58' a series of 26 coloured lithographs by William Simpson, E Walker and others, after G F Atkinson, published by Day and Son, 1857-1858.
Repulsed by fame, Frederick fled Victoria and hid his Cross after he attempted to join the Victorian Police and was rejected due to corruptiom and unsolicited political interference. Fragments of Whirlpool's life were known but since 1895 according to Leek, 'they have been tainted by error, guesswork and in one recent British work, pure fantasy.' The author of this biography reveals Frederick's true identity and his early life in Ireland solving an old mystery and telling the story of heroism, suffering and failure of the sad and enigmatic hero.
"Frederick Whirlpool VC (Australia's Hidden Victoria Cross)" by Alan Leek will be launched at the Regional Hawkesbury Museum in Windsor on 7 October at 2pm.