10 May 2015
Isle of the Dead
It remains a mystery of ancient history, but some 2000 years ago the Aborigines left Kangaroo Island never to return. For the subsequent generations of mainland Aborigines, the Island was “The Island of the Dead” and it remained an abundant, mysterious and isolated isle until the English and the French explored the coastline in the early nineteenth century (that was Flinders and Boudin, who met at “Encounter Bay” in amicable circumstances, Napoleonic wars notwithstanding).
But do not be deceived. This was no isle for the dead. Aboriginal dreamtime has it that the spirit of a dead person must undertake a journey to many places before it can rest peacefully. The Island of the Dead was the last place that a spirit was to visit before departing to another world.
This seems appropriate given the Island faces the Southern Ocean, in all of its awesome turbulence and power. Embrace the ocean elements and you will be rewarded with an insight of what the Southern and Eastern coasts of Australia must have been like before European settlement with its abundance of wildlife, forests, lagoons and rugged coastline.