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Captive Islands

Charles Bonington


For centuries, few outsiders visited these remote islands in the Bay of Bengal. The Andamans were shrouded in dense primeval forests, the occupants primitive and hostile. The islands to the south are the Nicobars – a haven for pirates.

Claimed by the British in 1789, the Andamans became the destination for thousands on convicts (1858), a penal colony far from the outside world – Port Blair.

Max Bonington arrived as the settlement harbour master in 1897. Not a place for the faint-hearted, incidents and ventures were numerous – escaping convicts, the native tribes, remote camps in hostile forests, the census expeditions. Little was predictable; tragedy sometimes the consequence.

‘Captive Islands’ are the memoirs of Mac and his son Charles – a journey of events that describe the islands and their inhabitants through much of the British era.


Charles Bonington



Publication Date:

2019 August


Hardback; 240 x 160mm




Colour and black and white photographs throughout