The Rocks in the background are Orchard Rocks just off Radical Bay – Magnetic Island…..
Yunbunam as Magnetic Island was known by the island’s traditional owners had a semi-permanent population of Australian Aborigines well before European exploration of the area. These populations were known to have permanent camps at a number of bays, and had the ability to travel to the mainland using canoes. A number of Aboriginal burial sites are known to exist on the island but have so far not been discovered by European development or exploration of the island.Aboriginal middens and cave drawings can still be found in a number of bays around Magnetic Island. Folklore of the Wulguru tribe, who inhabited the island, recounts a long history of inhabitation and annual migration to the mainland to avoid the traveling tribes from Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait who used the northern trade winds to travel south from their native lands in order to head-hunt indigenous tribes along the northern coasts of Australia. This painting depicts a moment from that time….they most probably used Orchard Rocks as a marker to come ashore and look for victims. This head-hunting activity near-ceased following the arrival of missionaries, led by Rev. Samual MacFarlane to the Torres Straits in 1871.3
The first European accounts of Magnetic Island come from Captain James Cook who in 1770 while navigating the Australian coast called the island Magnetical Island as a magnetic pull interfering with his vessel’s compass appeared to emanate from the island.
61cm x 91cm oil on canvas