Cemetery secrets and community conversations

Thanks so much to all the St Helena Island Community members who have responded so enthusiastically to the new eBook “St Helena Island Warders’ Children’s Cemetery.” Feedback via Facebook and the blog is a wonderful thing, as it boosts our spirits and fans the flames of writing and research. Loads of exciting new avenues have opened up as a result and we’re busy following up … Continue reading Cemetery secrets and community conversations

Childhood illness and death in the 19th and 21st centuries

This story comes from a personal place. One that reaches back into the past to empathise completely with the pain and heartache felt by parents facing children who are gravely ill. You see my son Rowan has been in hospital this past week, having complex procedures on his heart. The parents on St Helena would have faced their children’s illnesses with the same blend of … Continue reading Childhood illness and death in the 19th and 21st centuries

When is a tree a herb? Behold the Bella Sombre.

Oozing out of the ground like a volcanic eruption is a fabulous, bizarre and unique tree. Except it’s not a tree, it’s really more a herb due to its herbaceous ancestors. It can grow up to 18 meters tall and have a huge umbrella shaped canopy, but its branches are spongy and easily broken. Welcome to the Bella Sombra tree Phytolacca dioica. If you’re looking … Continue reading When is a tree a herb? Behold the Bella Sombre.

Sounds of St Helena Island

Whilst on the island a few weeks ago, a pair of sea eagles came to greet us one afternoon.  Paula Peeters, busy sketching the bamboo stand, heard them calling and looked up into one of the hoop pines to see both sitting perched facing each other.  As a devoted bird lover, Paula automatically recorded them calling. Have a listen to her video: Perched high in … Continue reading Sounds of St Helena Island

Bamboo and butter – sketching the Superintendent’s Garden

The garden of the superintendent is one of the finest in Queensland. It is not large, but the collection of useful and ordamental trees is rich and varied; and the place is kept in splendid order. The cocoanut and English oak, and scores of trees of less extreme qualities flourish there. Mr. M’Donald and his good lady have a keen sense for plants of every kind that have … Continue reading Bamboo and butter – sketching the Superintendent’s Garden

What do a Carceral Archipelago, Bella Sombre tree, Moreton Bay convict and St Helena Island have in common?

There are times in our life when the stars align and everything happens just the way it should. This happened last week on St Helena Island, when historians, writers, artists, rangers, educators, authors and researchers got together to capture some of St Helena’s magic.  The loveliest aspect was that as a community we were so diverse, yet so driven by the same passion for the … Continue reading What do a Carceral Archipelago, Bella Sombre tree, Moreton Bay convict and St Helena Island have in common?

What do you need to know about St Helena Island?

The count down is on until we grace the volcanic red soils of St Helena Island! Next week, we’re bringing a posse of people there to gather new and exciting images and information, that will provide the fodder for months’ worth of blogs. Lauren and I are ready to take lots of photos to go with the stories we have planned. My cousin Paula Peeters, … Continue reading What do you need to know about St Helena Island?

McDonalds are on St Helena Island.

McDonalds are on St Helena Island. But wait! Before you vent your frustrations at the insidious creep of fast food into all parts of our landscape, sit back. I’m not talking about The Golden Arches. You see, last month one of the earliest residents, Alice McDonald nee Malcolm, returned to St Helena Island. Although she died there in 1881, it took until 2018 for her … Continue reading McDonalds are on St Helena Island.

A bird’s eye view on a golden afternoon

The point of a blog is to write information, painting a visual picture with words, layering the landscape with detail and colour so it is alive in our imaginations. Yet today is different. The only words I’ll use are the few here, and the stunning pictures revealed today are courtesy of a birds eye view of St Helena Island taken by a drone. This video … Continue reading A bird’s eye view on a golden afternoon

When death changes history

Two deaths permanently changed our understanding of the many chapters of St Helena’s history. The arrival of Elizabeth Crompton’s death certificate and the obituary of her son Thomas did not fit into any known history of St Helena Island. Elizabeth’s death certificate revealed she had died and was buried on St Helena Island in 1865, as mentioned last week in ‘3 graves that can’t be found.’ … Continue reading When death changes history