Fort Wellington, Raffles Bay

At last, two months into my visit north, today I made it to the Raffles bay settlement, begun in 1827, and abandoned in 1829. Here Collet Barker oversaw roughly eighty people, made up of convicts and soldiers in almost equal numbers, and grew gardens, ran stock, erected buildings and befriended Aboriginals. My story of his life will be greatly enriched having tread this sacred ground.
One never knows what to expect, so I took a little too much of everything, but that’s better than arriving and lacking something I guess. My GPS was invaluable for finding the site, although the ‘astrofix’ taken in 1966 I used for my co-ordinates, was out by a couple of kilometres in longitude. Fortunately the latitude was spot on, and guided us straight to the cutting/slipway through the coral rock which was our goal, even though the reading suggested we needed to go another 1.6 kilometres to the east before we were there. My genial guide, who could well be Diver Dan’s long lost brother, was Robert Hunt, who runs his little Jarbu Lodge on the western side of Croker Island, with a handful of basic but comfy lodges to house the people who pay him to take them fishing. Deb, the head of the Minjilang School, also came along for the ride, and proved invaluable in helping to find the sites we were seeking in the undergrowth.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the following should save me writing twenty thousand of them.
The day begins

Rob’s place

Dining area

Sleeping huts

All one needs

Setting out

Just over there

Near Fort Wellington

The slipway cutting

Rob, Deb, the boat.

North to the point

Monument to Fort Wellington (1977)

House remains

West from the fort
Remains of well

Water tanks

The armoury

Artefact (the brick)

The slipway

The way home


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