Kangaroo Island Visitor Guide : 2016-2017 Kangaroo Island Visitor Guide
a wild island with wild stories | tourkangarooisland.com.au 27 Reeves Point remains a testimony to the hopes and aspirations of these early pioneers. In 1982, the site was placed on the South Australian Heritage Register. Poignant reminders of the early days include the first European cemetery, the site of the first post office, early house sites, remains of the original jetty and the mulberry tree that grew from a cutting brought out from England with the first settlers. Shipwrecks Since the first recorded shipwreck in 1847, over 60 ships have been lost around the coast of Kangaroo Island, many with loss of life. The largest vessel to be wrecked off the coast was the 5800 tonne Portland Maru in 1935, which began taking on water near Cape du Couedic before sinking close to Cape Torrens. One of the more notable and tragic events occurred to the Loch Vennachar, which sailed into cliffs on the west coast in 1905, with the loss of all 27 crew. Only one body was found and buried, unidentified, in the sand hills of West Bay. Working the land In the early days, as farmers battled to clear the land, their livelihood was principally derived from the bush. They felled and sold timber, snared possums, kangaroos and wallabies for their skins, collected yacca gum and distilled eucalyptus oil. At the end of the 19th century, Kangaroo Island’s pastoral industry was based around sheep farming (wool was easily shipped to the mainland) and grain. After World War II, this was consolidated when the government established a war service land settlement scheme. Ex-soldiers were to farm the undeveloped land on the Island’s central plateau. In total, 174 soldier settlers and their families came to Kangaroo Island and were each allocated 1200 acres with boundary fencing, two dams, a small house and implement shed, and were required to clear and develop 800 acres for pasture. The cost of the house, shed and fencing had to be paid back over 30 years. The Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum provides an excellent insight into these times. Lighthouses The first lighthouse to be built in South Australia was in 1852 at Cape Willoughby. The 27 metre-high tower is open for tours and Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, Flinders Chase National Park provides spectacular views along the coast. Cape Borda Lighthouse, which forms part of Flinders Chase National Park, opened on 5 July 1858. A small cannon stands nearby and was used to warn ships of danger and to signal at one o’clock so passing ships could reset their clocks. Tours of the lighthouse and museum are available. Nearby is Harvey’s Return, the old landing site for the light station and historic light keepers’ cemetery. Cape du Couedic Lighthouse was then opened in 1909. The remains of a jetty, water tank and storeroom can be seen at Weirs Cove, a spectacular site, from where the building materials and other supplies were hauled by flying fox to the top of the cliffs.