Story of a landscape

I’ve written a lot about the clearing of the island during the first few years of the prison’s establishment.

So today I’ll just post up some interesting paintings, drawings and photographs taken at various times in the island’s history, and your eyes can note the vegetation, the built and natural features and the changes over time.

Each image is amazing in its own right. Seeing them in a series pieces together the environmental history of an island landscape.

They tell a powerful story. One that had been repeated many times all over our wide brown land.

St Helena Island, Moreton Bay, 1853

05a St Helena painting July 20th 1853
Montagu of Beaulieu, Henry John Douglas-Scott-Montagu. (1853). St. Helena, Moreton Bay, 20th July, 1853 from


St Helena Island, Moreton Bay 1868

Island tree clearing
Clearing of native vegetation 1868, John Oxley collection, QPWS


St Helena Island, Moreton Bay 1870

Penal station at St. Helena, Moreton Bay, Queensland, pencil sketch, from


St Helena Island, Moreton Bay 1878

St Helena Island, C Winn
St Helena Island, Moreton Bay, 1878

St Helena Island, Moreton Bay early 1900’s


St Helena Island, Moreton Bay 1987

1a Henry 03 Aerial 1987
Aerial of St Helena ruins, 1987, from Henry Collection, QPWS


St Helena Island, Moreton Bay 2017

Stockade and museum
Aerial of St Helena Island, from Mette and Niels Juel (Veloshotz)


2 thoughts on “Story of a landscape

  1. A history in pictures! With much still left to the imagination… I’m looking forward to the day when at least part of the island will be returned to rainforest and other original vegetation types 🙂

    1. I agree Paula. I know the rangers have done some replanting of rainforest species over the years in some areas, which is a start! Still, the whole island has undergone a major change, as evidenced by the pictures, so we can only hope that some small areas might return to their former splendour.

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