Jane Smith's book Ship of Death tells of Emigrant's typhus-stricken passengers quarantined on North Stradbroke Island

A TOOWOOMBA author has published a book telling the true story of the 1850 voyage of the ship Emigrant whose typhus-stricken passengers were quarantined for more than three months on North Stradbroke Island.

The book Ship of Death was inspired by author Jane Smith's visit to the cemetery at Dunwich.

"I was impressed by the beauty and serenity of the site," Smith said.

"And then I saw 26 little white crosses in two rows. At one end there were the graves of the two doctors who lost their lives caring for the sick. "At the other end was a plaque that simply listed the names, ages and birth places of the dead.

"I saw the names and couldn't help wondering about their lives. Who were they? What made them take the risk of emigration? And what happened to the loved ones they left behind?"

Smith said the Emigrant was the second government-sponsored immigrant ship to bring free settlers from the United Kingdon directly to Moreton Bay.

"Ship of Death brings to life the hardships and hopes common to many of the early European immigrants to Australia," she said.

Former ABC journalist Kerry O'Brien, whose ancestors were passengers on the ill-fated voyage, wrote a foreword for the book.

"Jane Smith.... has added a rich vein to our understanding of the personal, individual legends of early white settlement in Queensland," he said.

Smith is a librarian, editor and keen historical researcher who writes both fiction and non-fiction for adults and children.

One of her children's books was shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award, and another was on the 2017 Children's Book Council of Australia 'notable' list.

Her children's book The Runaway is currently on the shortlist for the 2019 Speech Pathology Australia's Book of the Year Award.

Ship of Death is available from Booktopia and Amazon. For more information see janesmithauthor.com.

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