Bass strait is about 240 km wide at its narrowest and contains over 50 islands of which two are inhabited and the waters here are notoriously rough. Flinders island in the late 18th century, was frequented by sealers and Aboriginal women, the majority of whom had been kidnapped from their mainland tribes. Seal stocks soon collapsed, causing the last sealing permit to be issued in 1828. Many sealers' families chose to stay in the Furneaux Group, subsisting on cattle grazing and muttonbirding.
From 1830, the remnants of the Tasmanian Aboriginal population were exiled to Settlement Point (or Wybalenna, meaning Black Man's House) on Flinders Island. These 160 survivors were deemed to be safe from white settlers here, but conditions were poor, and the relocation scheme was short-lived. In 1847, after a campaign by the Aboriginal population against their Commandant, Henry Jeanneret, which involved a petition to Queen Victoria, the remaining 47 Aboriginals were again relocated, this time to Oyster Cove Station, an ex-convict settlement 56 kilometres south of Tasmania's capital, Hobart,where Truganini, the last full-blood Tasmanian Aborigine, died in 1876.
From the late 19th century freehold land was given out, but it was not until the 1950s that a proper settlement scheme was initiated, mainly drawing settlers from mainland Tasmania and central New South Wales to Flinders Island's eastern shore.
I will be keeping track of their progress thanks to a website called Skipr.net all you do is look for the link to the yacht Southern Belle and its shows their position on google maps and any recent posts they make, at the moment they are in a marina waiting for a thunderstorm to pass before they head off. modern technology is great ehh imagine how Captain Cooks wife (Elizabeth BATTS) would have liked to know where her hubby was.
In 1798, Matthew Flinders and George Bass were the first Europeans to circumnavigated Tasmania. It has been done by canoe in 2009 by three women paddlers.
The boat below is Southern Belle.
Happy sailing George and Gail, hope you have fair weather and full sails.