The Friends of Althorpe Islands began as a community group on September 18th, 1996. On the same day, 77 years earlier, Althorpe Island's most tragic and largest shipwreck occurred, with the sinking of the SS Pareora and the loss of eleven lives.
Our membership is made up of a wide and diverse range of adventurous people who have, over the years, actively contributed to the care and maintenance of the historic buildings, cottages and the natural environment.
The three former light keepers' cottages have been re-roofed and the former head keeper's cottage (Cottage 1) is connected with new water reticulation. The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) provided financial assistance for a solar energy power system, while members of the Friends donated solar water heating panels. This has allowed our working bee groups to have basic amenities in a comfortable cottage environment during island visitations.
The Friends bring with them a diverse range of skills and continue to maintain the exterior and interior of Cottage 1. The 2 remaining cottages are currently classified as ruins.
There have been several vegetation surveys done over the years and the research has revealed that there are 41 introduced and 43 native species. (Flora)
The friends have been actively involved in removing Lycium ferrocisimum (African boxthorn) which had been spreading extensively over the island since the feral goat population had been removed. We have been targeting other weeds such as Lavatera arborea (tree mallow) and Fleabane.
Members of the volunteer group continue to monitor and record coastal bird sightings. Althorpe Island has 59 different bird listings. (Fauna)
We are vigilant in maintaining a plastic free coast-line and provide the Rangers from the Department of Energy, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) with updates of our observations and achievements.
We continue to maintain the historical equipment on Althorpe. This includes the last operational diesel winch in Australia (Armstrong Sidley), which was used to power the now defunct flying fox. Our jetty is getting frail, now deemed unsafe, and therefore the flying fox is no longer attached to it.
There are 7 shipwrecks and 4 graves on Althorpe Island and the friends are involved in maintaining these. The earliest shipwreck was in 1878 and the earliest grave is 1838. (History)
Althorpe Island is 91 hectares in area, the plateau is 90 meters above sea level, and its rugged coastline is 3.2 km in length. It is recommended that members who contemplate visiting the island should take into consideration a sense of 'adventure', for visiting the island requires that element.
Our Constitution dictates that an AGM be held every year to elect an executive of President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary, with 7 other committee members.
If you are interested in supporting or becoming involved with our volunteer group, please visit our Join Us page.