Reflecting on Islands of the World Conference July 2017, Kangaroo Island

The 15th Islands of the World Conference was a gathering of peoples at Kangaroo Island Australia, July 2-7 2017 organised by the ISISA the International Small Islands Studies Association. Conference themes were considered, determined and decided before island visitors arrived. How else to organise a rabble of renegade and retired academics, active senior citizens, young minds and hearts, smart people and passionate locals?

Kangaroo Island as host is beset with a near and imminent drive for tourism, looming branding and stamped packaging. Not for the faint hearted. Internationals and interstate visitors were rendered effete by it, despite the size of their heart. A conversation back in February 2014 with Delvene Cockatoo-Collins concerning Kangaroo Island at the 1st South East Queensland Island Forum ‘Tourism, Transport and Local Economies’ on Canaipa (Russell Island) questioned how any Kangaroo Island initiative could succeed with the Aboriginal understanding of it as place of the dead.

Of most interest at the 2017 conference were models of diplomatic activism and active citizenship.  Notions of island-ness and their jurisdictions were shared. Understandings of islands as incubators of ideas for global survival, ecological restoration and celebration were aired. 

The poetic academic writing about island as metaphor by Alice Teasdale in her paper On inhabited islands: Shakespeare, Stevenson, magic, colonisation and the public imagination, Professor Elizabeth McMahon sharing of poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner performance at the United Nations Climate Leaders Summit in 2014 and Amy Kerr Allen speaking about the sinking islands of Kiribati in her presentation An island out of water: challenges created by centralisation of population and services in Kiribati were engaging presentations and speakers.

Post conference conversation with Jackie Cooper back home at Minjerribah was of island as haven and a  character profiling of islanders as miscreants, misfits, buccaneers, pirates and voyagers.

Happy snaps follow by and of, we delegates and tourists of Kangaroo Island who are three generations of matrilineal descent from aetipical ancestor Matilda Brown who now reside on Quandamooka Country.

2014 1st South East Queensland Island Forum ‘Tourism, Transport and Local Economies’ program can be found at this link

Islands of the World Conference July 2017, Kangaroo Island program link can be found at

Two Island Tribute exhibition was staged at the Frank Moran Gallery July 17-22, 2017. An event celebration was held Friday July 21, 6pm.

Visiting exhibition participants/collaborators/patrons were welcomed, watered and fed. They conversed, listened, were entertained, educated, enthralled and activated. Women, children, elders, young people and men were present. All basic criteria of a micro utopia present and accounted for.

A story was beget with an invitation from Elisabeth Gondwe musarian of the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum to host the exhibition on island. So to for the Mudlines Artists’ Residency, September 25 to October 1 on Canaipa (Russell Island).

There are ancient geologies and futures at stake with this development. The exhibition moves from the micro to aerial perspectives, with spoken, visual and written language communicating many voices and testament to the many values associated with the Bay. Vested interest should not take precedence over any or all of these.

Lyrical Writings of Cassim and Sandy Islands

Islands of Moreton Bay written by Helen Horton published by Brisbane Boolarong Publications in 1983 include this precious narrative of the two islands Cassim and Sandy which are so close to Nandeebie's (Cleveland) foreshore and Toondah Harbour. Writings such as this are testament to their contemporary cultural value.

Megan Cope and Aboriginal Place Names

Megan Cope is a Quandamooka woman and artist. Her artwork explores the reclamation of Australia's geographical place names.

An artists talk is scheduled for Saturday 2-3pm at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. 

Pictured here is an image of at 2014 exhibition YUNGGULBA (FLOODTIDE) at the Redland Art Gallery.

"Yunggulba is an extension of the Megan Cope’s After the Flood series which explores geomorphology, raising questions about climate change and vulnerability of residents along the coastline of Australia. Cope combines military topographical maps (circa 1930-45) with basic cartographic symbology to reveal a multilayered landscape, dual histories, dual identities and the cultural legacy of colonialism. Aboriginal people at the time these maps were made were largely invisible in the social landscape and heavily affected by current government policies".

Retrieved from June 19, 2017

Cassim a History

THomas Welsby states in his Recollections of the Natives of Moreton Bay. Together with some of their names and Customs of Living delivered before the University Historical Society in 1967 that

"At that time, i.e., about 1879, there were many natives at Amity, some of the real dark old-day men, and as the moon was at its full, an improvised cor- roboree was given by the men and their gins. One comical native—and one, I daresay, well remembered by many boating men—was living there at the time, his gunyah being very close to tlie beach, not far from where the present test-house stands. He liad a deformed arm and leg, and could not take part in the more active games and dances of his comrades. He was a born actor and a wonderfully clever mimic, and as cunning as the verit- able rat. His name was Cassim, or, as he himself would ever put it, John William Cassim, Esquire. He was not the Cassim who kept the hotel at Cleveland'. (p.115)

"Billy Cassim, who sang a fairly decent song, English and black words intermingled, as he deemed it necessary,, was also the author of many Amity Point corroborees. His native name was "Nyoryo" supposed to mean "ropehauler." How often have I heard him sing, "We won't go home till morning," and "Rule Britannia." It hasbeen said that Billy was the composer of two comedies, "The Chinaman Corroboree" and "The South Passage Corroboree." (p.116)

"Billy Cassim died in 1890, and lies asleep not far from his namesake, Cassim of Cleveland, the burial being made in the native quarter in the Dunwich cemetery," (p.117)

An Indian national Johnny Cassim was transported to the Island of Mauritius for the term of  his natural life in 1828.  After transport again to Moreton Bay hee obtained a Ticket of Leave in 1843, Cassim went onto own boarding houses and died in Cleveland in 1884 a property owner and respected business man.

An Aboriginal man John William Cassim Esquire (Billy) was one of the men who rescued survivors of the Sovereign in 1844. It is assumed he took his name after 1855 when Johnny Cassim came into contact with local people. Patrick J Tynan in his book Johnny Cassim Coolie - Convict - Catchumen - Colonial Entrepereur 1814-1884 suggest that Billy Cassim would have "taken on Cassims' name" as "It often happened that Aboriginal people took the name of one of the non-aboriginal arrivals in their area, out of admiration" p.71.

Cassim Island was named after one or perhaps the other of these gentleman.

Of the Cassim Island wreck A. J. Pixley in a 1970 reading Shipwrecks ev Queensland and Adjacent Waters to The Society says

"At the time I thought it may have belonged to the steamer Toondah, the remains of which ship lie on Cassim Island just off Cleveland. This is the ship in which Cecil Fison's grandfather surveyed and beaconed the channels of Moreton Bay. My assumption that this boiler came from the Toondah proved to be wrong. CecU Fison told me that the boiler and engine had been removed at the Port Office. How or why the hull finished up at Cassim Island I am unable to say". (p.154)

Image taken from Tynan, P. J. (2005). Johnny Cassim Coolie - Convict - Catchumen - Colonial Entrepeneur 1814-1884

and Retrieved June 15, 2017


Pixley, A. J. (1970) iShipwrecks ev Queensland and Adjacent Waters. Reading to The Society.

Tynan, P. J. (2005). Johnny Cassim Coolie - Convict - Catchumen - Colonial Entrepeneur 1814-1884. Church Archivist's Press.

Welsby, T. H. O. S. (1917). Recollections of the natives of Moreton Bay. Historical Society of Queensland Journal1, 110-129.


There are 500 000 migrating birds leaving Australian shores every year. The Australasian Flyway encompaces 22 countries, and is a 25 000 km round trip. But many birds spend most of their time here. There are 35 different species and their survival is dependent on habitat preservation. Moreton Bay shore lines are under threat from the Toondah Harbour redevelopment and critical bird habitats will be built on or polluted.

"FLYWAY investigates the enchanting nature of migratory birds and the annual epic, threatened journeys they make across a shifting globe in search of rest, food and a nest. Wearing headphones and binoculars audiences are enveloped in a lush soundscape and led on a birdwatching tour through urban spaces to encounter special moments dotted along the path - birds framed by screens, lenses and the city itself. Using video, sound and performance FLYWAY merges foreground and background and points to our mediated experience of ‘nature’.

The richly layered audiovisual work is drawn from a partnership with Birdlife Australia and their volunteer networks. Elizabeth Dunn undertook an extensive, month-long field research trip along the coast between Melbourne and Maryborough (QLD) to meet with local birders, visit bird sites and collect field recordings. Inspired by colossal migrations, Flyway’s sonic character suggests thick clusters of bird flocks and dense clouds of sound, shifting up and down along the coasts of nations as it creates an auditory envelope around its participants".

Retrieved from June 11, 2017

I Matai (The Dead)

"Nandeebie Screen is a film and screen journey through the world of First Peoples, from locally produced to works from our brothers and sisters in the Pacific, to the Americas, the Artic circle and the deserts of the Sahara.  We are listening to the voices which beat alongside our own rhythms, seeking to share knowledges which illuminate our sovereign place in the world".

Retrieved from June 6, 2017

"Short films include I Matai (The Dead), which is an experimental take on the ancient Chamoru death ceremony told through the prayers of a man grieving over the death of his brother".

An extraordinary short  film involving fire, ritual offerings, water and sound,.


Cassim and Sandy Island Geography

Cassim and Sandy Island Geography

Gold Cats Flyer exits Toondah Harbour approximately hourly every day between 5am and 8pm. Cassim Island is less than one kilometre from the harbour and Sandy two.

Tides were extremely low Saturday afternoon May 27. It revealed the eastern reach of Cassim all the way to Sandy Island and the otherwise underwater geologies and their interconnectedness.

Read More

Moreton Bay

""The Moreton Bay is a bay located on the eastern coast of Australia 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from central Brisbane, Queensland. It is one of Queensland's most important coastal resources.[1] The waters of Moreton Bay are a popular destination for recreational anglers and are used by commercial operators who provide seafood to market.

The Port of Brisbane coordinates large traffic along the shipping channel which crosses the northern section of the bay. The bay serves as a safe approach to the airport and reduces noise pollution over the city to the west of the runway. A number of barge, ferry and water-taxi services also travel over the bay.

Moreton Bay was the site of conflict between the indigenous Quandamooka people and early European settlers. It contains environmentally significant habitats and large areas of sandbanks. The bay is the only place in Australia where dugong gather into herds. Many parts of the mainland foreshore and southern islands are settled.

Moreton Bay is described as lagoonal because of the existence of a series of off-shore barrier islands that restrict the flow of oceanic water.[2] The tidal range is moderate at 1.5–2 metres (4 ft 11 in–6 ft 7 in) in range. Moreton Bay has an average depth of 6.8 metres (22 ft).[2] This shallow depth lets light filter through to the seafloor, allowing an array of marine plants to grow which support a diverse range of fauna. The bay itself covers 1,523 square kilometres (588 sq mi) and has a catchment area 14 times larger, covering 21,220 square kilometres (8,190 sq mi).[2] The waters of the bay are mostly blue in colour. Western parts of the bay are sometimes tinted green from algae, brown from suspended sediments or yellow-brown from humic runoff.[2]"

1. South East Queensland Regional Strategic Group (2000). Strategic Guide to Natural Resource Management in South East Queensland. p. 56. ISBN 0-7345-1740-8.

2. Dennison, William C.; Abal, Eva G. (1999). Moreton Bay Study: A Scientific Basis for the Healthy Waterways Campaign. Brisbane: South East Queensland Regional Water Quality Management Strategy Team. pp. 23–25. ISBN 0-9586368-1-8.


(Retrieved from March 23, 2017)

Local Council Mapping the Quandamooka

Released today by the Queensland Redistribution Commission were the new state electoral boundaries for the Redlands. These four electorates: Oodgeroo (formerly Cleveland), Capalaba, Redlands or Springwood which will include people living in Sheldon and Mt Cotton.

Oodgeroo was the traditional name of the Aboriginal poet and activist Aunty Kath Walker. Oodgeroo Noonuccal mans paper bark of the tribe Nunuccal (spelling variations include Nunuccal, Noonuckle and Nunukul).

Retrieved from…/the-final-determination

Flood and Storm Tide Hazard and and Environmental Significance Island Map Overlay retrieved from

May 26, 2017

Cassim Island - aesthetic musings

Cassim Island at dawn as seen through the eyes of a 15 year old, whose feet were buried deep in a mud rich so in microbes only a waterbird would know how to truly love it. The new Toondah Harbour revised redevelopment plans would see this intertidal zone under concrete.

" I put myself into the world and change it"

Ian Strange, visual artist and film maker says "I don't make narrative films... I create interventions in real life, then document them and then exhibit the documentation...I am also really interested in the stories that sit behind...I put myself into the world and change it."

Retrieved from February 28, 2017

Tracking the Business of Transit to Minjerriba, Mulgumpin and SMBI

Friday 18th September 2015
• SeaLink Travel Group Limited to acquire 100% of the Transit Systems Marine business, including the renowned Stradbroke Ferries
• Purchase price of $125 million

Transit Systems Marine operates 33 vessels in Queensland at Gladstone, Southern Moreton Bay Islands and North Stradbroke Island. It operates contracted and non-contracted passenger and vehicular ferry services to Curtis Island, Moreton Bay Islands and holds a contract with the Queensland State Government to own and operate the Moggill Ferry on the Brisbane River. It also has a number of strategic properties, which will be acquired as part of the acquisition. The Transit Systems brand will not be acquired as part of the purchase.

Retrieved from April 19 2017

Stradbroke Ferries

Stradbroke Ferries commenced operations in 1964 and has provided a continuous link to the islands off the coast of Brisbane for over 50 years. Stradbroke Ferries operates passenger and car carrying ferries that service the Southern Moreton Bay Islands and North Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay.

Today the service operates eight vehicle and one passenger ferry and employs over 100 staff. The fleet is headlined by the Big Red Cat and Minjerribah passenger and car carrying vessels that service North Stradbroke Island. The business also operates the Moggill Ferry on behalf of the QLD Transport and Main Roads Department. Stradbroke Ferries carries approximately 280,000 vehicles and 1 million passengers per annum.

Stradbroke Ferries endeavours to provide its customers with:

A high quality, affordable transport service to and from North Stradbroke Island and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands;
A comfortable and enjoyable way to see the beautiful bay;
Exceptional customer service with polite and friendly staff;
Vessels presented to the highest standards; and
Impeccable safety, quality and environmental standards.

Retrieved from April 19 2017

June 2014 marks 50 years of service to North Stradbroke Island!

Stradbroke Ferries Pty Ltd has been providing vehicle and passenger services to North Stradbroke Island since June 1964, when the Company’s founding Directors identified the need for a regular vehicle transport service to the island, and in particular to service the mining industry.

The company originally operated one vehicle ferry, the Myora from Redland Bay to Dunwich on Stradbroke Island, however in 1972 the operations moved to Cleveland after the company completed extensive work on the present facilities at Toondah Harbour.

In 1987 Stradbroke Ferries commenced their vehicle ferry operations to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, which serviced the islands of Russell, Macleay, Karragarra and Lamb.

Tourism on Straddie first started to advance in the 1980s and the company identified the need to review its vessel configuration to ensure that it also catered for the growing tourism market. Just to name a few, this included the introduction of the Stradbroke Venture in 1987 along with the company’s first water taxi, the Spirit of Stradbroke. The Quandamooka commenced operations in 1994 and was upgraded in 1998 to provide on board café facilities for customers. In 2004 the Minjerribah joined the Cleveland fleet and this provided the company with the two largest vessels to operate in Moreton Bay.

In December 2011, Stradbroke Ferries was purchased by Transit Systems, a family owned Australian company. The company developed a single brand for the entire fleet operating to North Stradbroke Island, including the Big Red Cat and water taxi.

In November 2015, Stradbroke Ferries was purchased by SeaLink Travel Group, which is the largest marine tourism and transport company in Australia. The Moggill Ferry service, BITS (Bay Islands Transit) and Gladstone Ferries marine operation was also included in the acquisition of the Transit Systems marine business.

Today the company operates eight vehicle ferries and a 130 seat water taxi seven days a week, 365 days a year within Moreton Bay; this incorporates the five islands of North Stradbroke, Russell, Lamb, Macleay and Karragarra. April 19 2017

Map shows transit services line of travel to the islands. Retrieved from

Map shows transit services line of travel to the islands. Retrieved from

Kim WIlliams and 'things ineffably precious'

ABC Vodcast


Episode 6  – 13/03/2017

13 March 2017
Panellists: Mem Fox, Author; Martha Wainwright, Canadian Singer-Songwriter; Neil Armfield, Theatre and opera director; Ursula Yovich, Actress and cabaret singer; and Kim Williams, Author and former media executive.


Neil Armfield Co-director of the Adelaide Festival says the value of the arts is in purely economic terms is massive, filling the state coffers. The 2011 census tells us that 310 000 people have work in the arts nation wide.


Kim Williams states “The arts are absolutely at the heart land of a nations senseself confidence, a nations view of itself, a nations sense of its history as told through stories, music, through painting, through film and through television and of course through theatre.


And to in someway see this as being entirely about commerce reflects what I think is one of the most dangerous things in modern life, where we treat money as the measure of all things, rather than one of many measures.


Other things matter. Knowing one’s history matters. Knowing the nations sense of association with all of the rich diversity of people that repose here, and all the musics that those people comprise, matters. It is not capable of being reduced to some kind of financial argument. It is preposterous to treat everything as if in fact it is a reflection of some monetary transaction …


In relation to the argument that this should all be a sort of commercial destiny, I feel compelled to say ‘well why is that the case?’


Why is it the case where nations over time have invested very heavily, right back have invested very heavily in creative life, with a deliberate purpose to ensure that it is healthy and vigorous because they know it’s good for you. Why should that just be rejected and suddenly become part of a monetarist argument that has nothing at all to do with the underlying ecology of creative and intellectual life. These things are under constant attack….


These are things ineffably precious…..



Quandamooka Place Names, Jandai Aboriginal Language

Quandamooka Place Names, Jandai Aboriginal Language

Aboriginal place names for the small islands of the Quandamooka include:

Coochimudlo Island - Goochie Goochie-pa / Goochie mudlo

Fisherman Island - Andaccahl

Green Island - Milwarpa / Danggar / Tangeera

Karragarra - Karragarra

Macleay Island - Jencoomercha

Moreton Island - Moorgumpin / Mulganpin / Moaraganpin

Mud Island - Bangamba

North Stradbroke Island - Minnjerriba / Terangeri

Peel Island - Jercroobai

Russell Island - Canaipa

South Stradbroke - Curragee / Garaji

St Helena - No-gun/Nugoon

Read More

Mulgumpin (Moreton Island)

Tangalooma is the resort on Mulgumpin (Moreton Island).

"Moorgumpin meaning 'place of sandhills' is the Aboriginal name for Moreton Island and Tangalooma means 'where fishes meet'


In 1950 the Australian Company Whale Products Pty Ltd was formed. Tangalooma was chosen as the site for the largest land-based whaling station in the southern hemisphere.


In June 1963 the Tangalooma Whaling Station was sold to a syndicate of Gold Coast businessmen. In 1980 the resort was purchased by a local Brisbane family, the Osborne's.


Retrieved from April 20, 2017

In terms of tourism, the Asian market has well and truly been cracked by the Tangalooma undertaking. Pictured here is the remaining whale flensing deck. Also Uncle Bob Anderson Ngugi elder, talking on Country about cultural heritage.