Flinders Island Trips 1990 - 1995

Pre dawn light over Mt Strzelecki, Flinders Is.

Up before dawn to capture the sun peeking over Mt Strzelecki. The weather was quite blustery as I walked along the beach around to the old wharf on Badger Island. We weren't in any hurry today, just a short trip across to Trousers Point on Flinders Island. It was easy to see why Lucy Beedon had built her house at this location, the view across to Flinders and Chappel Islands was spectacular.

Sunrise over Mt Strzelecki

The early straitsmen, as they were called, made their living by fishing, catching mutton birds and salvaging any wrecks that frequently washed up on these rocky, wind swept isles. They also kept livestock but their main livelihood was the sea. These people were descendents from early sealers, escaped or pardoned convicts and Tasmanian Aborigines.

Early morning, Badger Is.

Off to the north lay Mt Chappel Island. This is another mutton bird rookery but is also the home of some of the most venomous snakes in the world, theTiger Snake. Toxin experts from all over the world regularly visit this island to milk the snakes for their venom. The snakes usually inhabit empty mutton bird burrows making the job of the muton birders potentially dangerous.

Old wharf, Badger Is.

Badger Island has a number of buildings on it, including a shearing shed, dwellings and a wharf for loading wool bales. The Tasmanian Aborigines recently took over the lease of the island and are establishing a cultural rehabilitation centre for juvenile offenders.

Aboriginal graves, Badger Is.

Before leaving we walked over to the shearing shed and shacks. Near these buildings we found a fenced in site which we believe contains the unmarked graves of a number of Tasmanian Aborigines. It seemed a lonely place to be buried far away from their real homeland on the mainland of Tasmania.

The Suzuki,Badger Is.

Mick found a 4wd Suzuki with the keys in it. Surprisingly it started without much trouble. We didn't take it out but it would be useful in an emergency. Over the hill, some distance from the houses was the airstrip. Today these islands are virtually unmanageable without airservices.

Homestead, Badger Is.

This is one of the quite substantial houses on the island. The garden in front of the house probably dates back to the earliest days of the settlement of the island in the 1850's. Alongside the buildings were numerous stone walls laboriously constructed years ago. No doubt stone was used because of the scarcity of wood.

On the tram track, Goose Is.

We had intended visiting Goose Island on this trip but the incessant, strong westerly precluded this. On a previous trip we had got to Goose Island. This even mor remote outpost of civilisation has a lighthouse, now automated. The old tramtracks that allowed stores to be transported to the lighthouse are still there. Here Laurie gives encouragement to Kay Beswick. The island is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a former lighhouse keeper who was drowned in front of his wife and children while returning with stores.

Under sail, Badger Is.

We left Badger Island and eased out into the strong winds with sails up. While in the lee of Badger Island it was quite reasonable. We set off for the passage between Chappel and Badger knowing that we were in for a torrid time. we could see the current was making against the wind and the waves were picking up.

Under sail, Mt Chappel Is.

Once in the channel the fun started. With the waves behind us we scooted down the waves zig zagging as the crests broke over us threatening to broach the kayaks. For a while it was impossible to get any good video because there were too many things to attend to. Sails threatened to rip and we had to stay well clear of each other. We angled over towards Mt Chappel Island and flew past with all sails up.

Sailing, Mt Chappel Is.

We rapidly left Mt Chappel Island behind, waves surging over the deck and spray flying out behind the rudder every time we caught a wave. Laurie had both sails up and was off to our south, spray sometimes completely enveloping the Sea Leopard.

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