Lets explore St Helena Island in Moreton Bay and probe its history.
Where: St Helena Island National Park – Moreton Bay.
When: 10 am Saturday 23rd November 2019 (Be at William Gunn Jetty, Manly, by 9:45 am)
Cost: Members $85; Non-members $90 (Includes ferry, lunch, and guided walking tour)
Transport: Own transport to Manly
Duration: Five hours or a little more
Parking: Google Maps shows an appreciable amount of car parking within 5 to 8 minutes walk. Trip Advisor indicates street parking is available within 5 to 8 minutes walk as well.
Details: St Helena Island lies about 5 east of the mouth of the Brisbane River and has an area of about 80 hectares excluding mangroves.
Evidence from middens shows that the island, known as Noogoon, was used by Aboriginal people for hunting dugong and flying-foxes and gathering shellfish.
St Helena was originally intended to be a quarantine station but the buildings constructed for this purpose were converted into prison accommodation and the island functioned as a high security prison. A proclamation declaring the island a place of detention was signed by the Queensland Governor, Sir George Bowen, on 14 May 1867.
By the end of the twentieth century, there were over 300 prisoners on the island, many of whom had been convicted of violent crimes. Prisoners were engaged in farming, with sugar, maize, lucerne and vegetables being produced; as well as ‘trade’ activities such as brickmaking, tailoring, and rope making.
The prison was in decline by the 1920s and most prisoners and workshops were moved to Bogo Road Gaol. A number of buildings were dismantled and the last prisoner left the island on 15 February 1933. The island was gazetted a National Park in 1979 and as the first Historic Area in Queensland in 1980.
Our guided tour with Cat O’Nine Tails Cruises will include buildings in the restricted zone and involve walking a little over 4 km. Lunch will be provided during the tour. Bring a bottle of water, sunscreen and a hat, and wear comfortable shoes.
Co-ordinator: Bob Reid 0412 625944 (Mary Comer from 14 September to 1 November). firstname.lastname@example.org