Friday 13 November 2009

History Bites: Wangal Djungay or Double Island

CairnsBlog brings you our weekly column, History Bites, a series of historical vignettes, pertinent to our unique and special region.

Produced by Dr Timothy Bottoms, a published and widely respected historian based in Cairns, North Queensland. He has spent ten years researching and writing City of the South Pacific, A History of Cairns.
History Bites is a series of unique and easily readable pieces for
CairnsBlog readers. Dr Bottoms is a specialist in Aboriginal and North Queensland history and has wide experience in writing, producing and presenting radio documentaries and music biographies.

Double Island or Wangal Djungay from the foreshore of Palm Cove, with ‘Scout Hat’ Island to the right. Haycock Island looks like a scout hat during low-tide when the base is exposed, as it then resembles the brim of a hat.

Captain Owen Stanley in H.M.S.Rattlesnake who “brought up finally under a small unnamed islet in Trinity Bay. This island, viewed from our anchorage on its north-west side, presents the appearance of a ridge connecting two rounded eminences….On the windward side there is a long gradual slope, covered with tall coarse grass…and an extensive mangrove bed runs out upon the reef in one place…stretching out to windward upwards of a mile, as far as a small rocky isle like a hay-cock.” 3 July 1848 [MacGillivray, 1852] HMS Rattlesnake, Bramble, Midget and Asp came together on the other side of Double Island for three quarters of an hour on Thursday morning 6 July 1848, some 159 years ago.

In 1848 Edmund Kennedy and his expedition landed near Hull Heads, in Djirru rainforest territory, slightly north of the future Cardwell, on their ill-fated journey. Captain Owen Stanley’s survey ships had assisted in getting Kennedy’s party ashore from the transport Tam-O’Shanter at Rockingham Bay. They sailed on in convoy, and began their survey of the inner Barrier Reef route north to the Torres Strait.

Early on Thursday morning of 22 June 1848, members of Stanley’s survey team landed at Fitzroy Island [Gububarra] and made their way to the highest peak. Three days later while still at Fitzroy they were observed by the Gungganydji of Mirra Warrigala [King Beach].
Eight days later the Rattlesnake anchored in the lee of Wangal Djungay [Double Island], sheltering from the south-east Trade-winds. Here the mother-ship was re-joined by the two smaller survey vessels, Asp and Midge. The next morning (Thursday, 6 July 1848), the large survey ship, H.M.S. Bramble, also ‘came-up’ to complete the convoy. Such a flotilla of European vessels could hardly have gone unnoticed by the coastal Djabugay (Yirrganydji), although no contact was recorded by either MacGillivray or Brierly while off Double Island.

Wangal Djungay, meaning place (home) where the fast-moving Storytime boomerang landed. It is also associated with Gudju-Gudju [the Rainbow Serpent] and and Budaadji [carpet snake] and is linked to the Mirra Warrigala Gungganydji of King Beach, Cape Grafton. There are also Storywaters relating to links with Tableland Yidinydji.

This is an extract from: A History of Cairns – City of the South Pacific 1770-1995, by Dr Timothy Bottoms, PhD, Central Queensland University, 2002, Photo 2.1, p.72.You can contact Dr Bottoms via email. There is more information on his website.

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