Kangaroo Island Information


Kangaroo Island has many historical sites, including the first settlement in South Australia, at the place known as Reeves Point, in 1836. This settlement, then called Kingscote, was, however, to last less than 4 years. In 1854 John Buick arrived with his wife Frances, and it was then that the first home was built - the beginning of the town. South Australia's first fruit-tree, planted in 1836 at Reeve's Point, still produces mulberries each year. Lighthouses The first lighthouse built in South Australia was on Kangaroo Island, at Cape Willoughby in 1852. Subsequent lighthouses were built at Cape Borda, and Cape Du Couedic, in 1858 and 1906. Jetties were built at the bottom of the cliffs at Cape du Couedic and Harvey's Return, near Cape Borda. Supplies for the two lighthouses were brought up by flying fox. Today the lighthouse cottages are available as accommodation. Shipwrecks The coast of the Island has claimed more than 40 ships since the first recorded wrecking, of the William, in 1847. One of the most notable and tragic of the shipwrecks was the beautiful sailing ship the Loch Vennachar, which sailed into the cliffs of the Island's west coast in September 1905. Only one body was found, and it was buried, Cape Willoughby Lighthouse unidentified, in the sandhills of West Bay. Today the wrecks have become popular among diving enthusiasts, who explore the waters in search of lost treasures. Farming Farming has always been one of the major industries of the Island. Centrally placed on the Playford Highway, 40 kms from Kingscote, Parndana is the township serving the grazing area of the western end of Kangaroo Island. Prior to World War II, little of this land had established farms. Mr Rowland Hill had the vision of developing land for farming, and to this end an experimental farm of 6000 acres was set up in 1938/39. Administered by the Land Development Executive, all 174 soldier settlement farms were gradually established and allocated. Today sheep and cattle grazing are the predominant farm activities, with some cereal growing, mainly of oats. Eucalyptus Oil The eucalyptus oil distilling industry on Kangaroo Island began in the 1890s, and was one of the Island's major industries, with dozens of stills in operation. In 1906, the KI Eucalyptus Company was exporting eucalyptus oil to England. It was the first truly Australian export product. The industry was short-lived, and virtually ceased around the 1950s with the development of agriculture land, and rising wool prices. Visit Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery to learn its history and see the production process. Explorers A number of spots on Kangaroo Island were discovered by famous explorers. Captain Matthew Flinders landed near Christmas Cove, Penneshaw (The Basin), in 1802. American River was also discovered by Mathew Flinders in 1802. The following year an American brig sailed in and, during a four month stay, built the boat the Independence, using local timber. It was from this event that the town received its name. In 1803 Captain Baudin, the French explorer, anchored in the bay at Penneshaw and sent a party ashore to find fresh water. While waiting for the casks to fill, one of the sailors carved these words on a nearby rock "Expédition de découverte par le commandant Baudin sur le Géographe 1803". Translated, it reads "Expedition of discovery by Captain Baudin in the Geographe 1803". The rock is now named Frenchman's Rock.

Light house

Light House at Penneshaw

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