How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Newry Islands

Friday 8th June 2012
The Newry Islands
20’51.028 S – 148’55.812 E
Cool nights, fresh days with warm sunshine and slight winds – no rain – yeah!

The tide in the Newry’s runs similar to Mackay with a 6mt difference at springs and 4mts at neaps. Plenty of chain needs to be paid out to allow for this.
Anchorage between Newry and Outer Newry Islands
Here we are resting up for a couple of day and taking advantage of the nice weather while it lasts.

The first afternoon in the anchorage between Newry Island and Outer Newry Island MrJ and I did nothing, just sat around with a couple of nice beverages and admired the surrounds and sunset. There were four other boats anchored before us, three local boats (two sail & one motor cat) and our friends Gary and Mercedes on Forever Dreaming.

Wednesday we took our dinghy ashore to the eastern beach on Newry Island just before the top of the tide. This would give us plenty of time to go exploring before the tide was to be running out too far again. The eastern beach on Newry Island is where the ruins of an old resort are found.
Wandering around the well kept ground os the old resort area, now part of the National Park
Rocky outcrops and sandstone cliffs are some of the features of these hilly Newry Islands which lie close to the mainland not too far from Seaforth on the Queensland coast. The islands are mostly covered with eucalypt woodland with patches of lush rainforest growing in sheltered gullies. The rocky headlands are covered with hoop pines.
Brushtail possums, fawn-footed melomys and northern brown bandicoots are among a assortment of animals that inhabit Newry’s forests and grasslands. We did not see any of these but did come across all their signs with heaps of holes and digging to break your ankles on if not treading wearily along the trails.
Surrounding the island, marine habitats such as mangroves, fringing reef and seagrass beds, provide food and shelter to animals including dolphins, dugongs, turtles and crocs. Beside some fish the only other marine animal that I saw was a turtle surface in the channel between Newry and Outer Newry Islands.
Aboriginal people have long had an association with the Newry Islands. The area has provided for hunting and fishing for many thousands of years. They paddled canoes from the mainland and Whitsunday Islands, their movements and whereabouts governed by the availability of food.
The Newry Islands were named in 1879 by Royal Navy Staff Commander EP Bedwell while undertaking coastal surveys.
Coconuts and pineapples were grown on Newry Island and a licensed dugong fishery produced oil for medicinal purposes.
Ruins of the Pebble Cottage, was once part of the resort on Newry Island
A small tourist resort was developed on leasehold land surrounding the eastern side of Newry Island in 1934 only four years before the area was declared a national park. This resort was run by by Fred and Marcelle Wooster who operated it for over twenty years.
The most famous of their regular guests was Marcelle’s sister Annette Kellerman an international swimming star, vaudeville performer, acrobat, actress and women’s rights advocate. Annette was born in Marrickville in Sydney in 1886 and was also known for her attempt to swim the English Channel three times and during her visits to Newry Island she would swim every day to Outer Newry Island and back showing no fear of the sharks or crocodiles in the waters around the Newry Islands. It is said that Annette often swam all the way to Seaforth to bring back supplies by hitching a ride on the return journey. Annette is well known for her role of portraying Esther Williams in the film Million Dollar Mermaid.
Two more lessees ran Newry Island Resort before it finally closed in 2001. It was then taken over by Queensland National Parks and Wildlife, who retained the remnants of the resort for their historical interest. Not so long ago sailors could wander up the beach to socialize over a cold beer but now the art deco bar is gone, replaced by a modern recreational shelter and picnic tables which we used for our own picnic lunch. You are able to wander around the picnic grounds amongst the remains of a once busy island resort, explore the beach front or take the short trails across the island to the western beach overlooking Rabbit Island, the largest island in this group.

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