Kangaroo – Island of Intrigue
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• Where is Kangaroo Island?
• Women slaves.
• Photos of amazing animals and birds.
• Scenery highlights of my trip.
• The island of the dead — aboriginal history.
Sydney Harbor, Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock (now called Uluru), Kangaroo Island…….top spots when the Europeans and Japanese visit Australia. But wait…….Kangaroo Island ????
To see the Island in its full beauty, click on an image to enlarge it. Then click on back-arrow to come back to the article. Note: sometimes you may have to wait a few seconds for the enlargement to come into focus.
KANGAROO ISLAND WAS DISCOVERED BY MATTHEW FLINDERS IN 1802 while he explored the southern coast of Australia in the brig HMS Investigator. He was closely followed by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin, who mapped much of the island and is why so many places have French names. As of 1836, Kangaroo Island became part of South Australia, one of only seven states in Australia.
WOMEN SLAVES. A community of sealers and others existed on Kangaroo Island from 1802 to the time of South Australia’s colonisation in 1836. The sealers were rough men and several of them kidnapped Aboriginal women from Tasmania and mainland South Australia. The women were kept prisoner as wives and virtual slaves. Three Aboriginal women tried to escape and swim back to the mainland. One is on record as having survived the journey.
SHIPWRECKS. Over 100 have occurred, dotted all around the island. The largest loss of life was 31 in the Loch Sloy which foundered in Maupertuis Bay in 1899. Near Cape Willoughby we found an anchor and what appears to be an anchor chain (see photo) presumably from a shipwreck.
UNCOMMERCIALIZED. The whole island is remarkably uncommercialized. Although a thriving ferry-bus-tour industry exists, including many Europeans, you can drive to any one of dozens of beaches and be the only person within a mile.
For example, we struck out for Stokes Bay, a beautiful mile-long beach which can only be accessed by a miniature slot canyon. Close to the beach there were just four houses plus one restaurant, although a tourist lodge was hidden a mile away in the bush. We ate a fine meal at the restaurant which included flathead, oysters, and squid.
AMAZING ANIMALS AND BIRDS. While the human population of Kangaroo Island is unbelievably small – only about 4,500 – the animal population is far greater.
A rare incident late in the day found our car staring down a koala in the middle of the road. What’s the chance of that happening, since koalas spend most of their time sitting in eucalyptus trees eating or sleeping?
SCENERY HIGHLIGHTS OF KANGAROO ISLAND. Too many spots to name, but here is a sample.
LIGURIAN BEES. Kangaroo Island is noted for its honey and its Ligurian honey bees, imported originally from Belgium. The island has the world’s only pure-bred and disease-free population of this type of bee. The exporting of pure-bred queen bees is a notable industry for the island. And yes, we tasted the honey, and licked the honey ice-cream, which was sumptuous.
ABORIGINAL PEOPLE ONCE LIVED ON KANGAROO ISLAND, as long ago as 16,000 years before the present. But they disappeared possibly only 2000 years ago. Eerily, the island is known as Karta (Island of the Dead) by mainland Aboriginal tribes.
Kangaroo Island separated from mainland Australia around 10,000 years ago, due to rising sea level after the last glacial period. A remarkable, but sad, mainland Aboriginal dreaming story, which therefore must be 10,000 years old, tells of the flooding that displaced the island:
Long ago, Ngurunderi’s two wives ran away from him, and he was forced to follow them. He pursued them and as he did so he crossed Lake Albert and went along the beach to Cape Jervis. When he arrived there he saw his wives wading half-way across the shallow channel which divided Naroongowie from the mainland. He was determined to punish his wives, and angrily ordered the water to rise up and drown them. With a terrific rush the waters roared and the women were carried back towards the mainland. Although they tried frantically to swim against the tidal wave they were powerless to do so and were drowned.
Note that aboriginal tribes have lived in Australia for 50,000 years. Far longer than inhabitants of North America (maybe 15,000 years).
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This article is dedicated to my mother, Alison, who is 94. She traipsed around KI with us, and didn’t want to miss anything. She is an inspiration to me. A great thank you to my brother Clive and his wife Sarena for driving and hosting us on this marvelous trip. And to Lyn for suggesting the trip. Precious memories!
The Gray Nomad
Probing the practices of Christian faith
For ever since the creation of the world God’s invisible nature and attributes, that is his eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and discernible in the things that have been made – his handiworks. (Romans chapter 1, Amplified Bible).