Last Tuesday 6th June Manly West State School children were treated to a historical and educational tour of St Helena Island. St Helena Island is a stunning National Park rich in history and located just four kilometres from the mouth of the Brisbane River. For over 60 years it was home to hundred's of society's outcasts, for here stood colonial Queensland's foremost maximum security prison for men.
The school has been taking its grade four students on these Day trips for many years and it is always a highlight in the educational program. Complimenting their curriculum studies on convicts and early Australia, this authentic journey through time brings to life the teachings of the classroom.
Having met 9am at the William Gun Jetty near Manly Baths, the group of excited children boarded the aptly named boat, ‘Cat-O’-Nine-Tails’ ready to sail into the past.
These tours allow participants to examine old buildings and ruins of convict jails, explore the remains of a long gone community and walk the same dirt tracks the damned trod years ago. In role characters of the St Helena Theatre Troupe tell their stories, painting an accurate picture of how life was for the convicts. Their genuine tales shed light on the black hole, plagues and sickness, gruelling work, poor meals and punishment that was daily routine.
A lonely looking graveyard is one of the significant marking points of the trip. Visitors wander through a field of ghosts reading old arbitraries scrawled across moss covered headstones while tour guides weave stories of departed souls, some incredibly young and most from diseases that today have common cures. The anonymous graves of the convicts that stretch across the field keep dark secrets, sad but fascinating of name-less men known only by number.
Highly recommended to all schools in the area, the lessons learned here are not forgotten. However anyone with an interest in history or fascination for the past should not pass this up. The tours to the Island are run regularly by A B Sea Cruises and include both Day tours and haunting Night Ghost tours for the brave hearted. These tours won the prestigious Queensland Tourism Award for Heritage and Cultural Tourism in 1998.
The theatrical and realistic ways in which the tours are conducted ensure it is a striking experience. This is certainly a piece of history that must be explored.
For further information on St Helena and the guided tours click here.
Come and discover the spectacular beauty of humpback whales in Moreton Bay and help raise funds for the Australian Marine Conservation Society. If you haven't been whale watching before, or can't wait to go again, come along to this exciting event, enjoy a buffet lunch and watch the whales for a day. All proceeds go to our marine conservation work.
Travelling south from their winter migration, humpbacks and their young are now making their way back towards Antarctic waters. These magnificent whales pass very close to the top of Moreton Island where we will see them. Join AMCS Conservation Staff and Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on this special whale watching cruise and watch the whales go by. Learn more about Australia's wonderful humpbacks through qualified on-board commentary and talk with AMCS marine experts about Australia's wonderful marine world.