Sunday, 1 August 2010

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

This postcard has been on my "to be posted" list for well over a month now but somehow it has always been left behind. I *really* like this card so it's about time I showed it here. It's one of the gorgeous postcards I received from a swap with Heather in Australia.

Rottnest Island is located 18 km off the coast of Western Australia, near Fremantle, and a 30 minute ferry ride out from Perth, in the Indian Ocean. It is called Wadjemup by the Noongar people, meaning "place across the water". The island is 11 kilometres long, and 4.5 kilometres at its widest point with a total land area of 19 km². It is classified as an A Class Reserve and is managed by the Rottnest Island Authority. No private ownership of land is allowed.

Rottnest Island was inhabited by Aboriginal people from approximately 30,000 years ago, until rising sea levels separated the island from the mainland of Western Australia approximately 7,000 years ago. The island features in Noongar Aboriginal mythology as Wadjemup. Aboriginal artefacts on the island have been dated from 6,500 to more than 30,000 years ago.

There were no people on the island when European exploration began in the 17th century, and the Aboriginal people did not have boats that could make the crossing, so the island had probably been uninhabited for several thousand years.

The island became largely devoted to recreational use from the 1900s, aside from a brief period of exclusive military use during World War II. It is now visited by nearly 500,000 visitors annually. Rottnest Island has very few permanent residents with most island workers commuting from the mainland.

Bathurst Lighthouse is one of two lighthouses on Rottnest Island, the other being Wadjemup Lighthouse. It is located on Bathurst Point, in the north east of the island, and was activated in 1900. The lighthouse was erected in response to a series of shipping disasters in the area, which included the loss of the City of York in 1899.

Heather tells me that the island was named because the early explorers thought the quokka (related to kangaroos) were 'rats the size of cats'. Thus Rott = rat: ratnest island/Rottnest Island.

The stamps are great again. These are from a set of 6 stamps issued in 2009 with the title "Let's get active!". They are aimed at getting children interested in stamps but also promote kids' sports and incorporate an educational aspect.

No comments: