The cruise of the Francois 1928 Dunk Island 23rd to 25th May 1928 The Banfields of Dunk Island In order to appreciate the following events, one must first learn the history of this tropic isle and the celebrated beachcomber who inhabited it for 27 years. Edmund J. Banfield was born in Liverpool in 1852.  After the family migrated to Australia, his father founded a newspaper at Maryborough in Victoria during the gold rush period.  Edmund later began his own career in journalism. In 1882 he took the rather adventurous step of moving to Townsville. After becoming ill through overwork and exhaustion, he became captivated by the thought of living a simple life on Dunk Island with his wife Bertha. They took up permanent residence on the island in 1897, living in tents until they built a small hut and later a house.  The climate proved agreeable to a great variety of fruit and vegetables; bananas, oranges, pawpaws, pineapples, custard apples, melons, sweet potatoes, maize, strawberries, herbs and even coffee provided food for the self-sufficient couple. The sea provided oysters and fresh fish. Poultry, cows and goats filled the need for fresh meat and milk. Banfield needed additional finance to pay for other necessities, so he began to write again. In colourful prose, he wrote “Confessions of a Beachcomber”, “My Tropic Isle, “Tropic Days” and  “Last Leaves from Dunk”. Much more can be read about Ted and Martha and their idyllic life on the island in these books and the adventures that the couple experienced.  Ted Banfield died of peritonitis on 2nd June 1923. Bertha was alone on Dunk Island with her husband’s body for three days until she was able to attract the attention of a passing steamer. After making a coffin, the crew laid Banfield to rest in his own garden. A few years later a stone cairn was erected with the following inscription from the writer Henry David Thoreau: Bertha travelled and lived in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Ten years later she died in Wynnum and her ashes were deposited on Dunk Island beneath the cairn with her husband. Welcome to Dunk Island On their arrival at Dunk Island, Francois was boarded by Wylie, the caretaker of the island, who placed his services as a guide at their disposal. Mac’s Log describes their first trip ashore: © Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds Did You Know? “Went ashore after lunch.  Found Professor Goddard with his wife and party of friends on a visit to the Island which he is buying to establish a Marine Biological Station.  Treated us very hospitably  sending off bread and fresh milk.  Everyone charmed beyond words at the beauty of the island, the most picturesque views of the coconut palms. ‘The finest island on the Coast.’” Professor Goddard proved to be an excellent guide as he showed the party around the island. He demonstrated the fertility of the soil in which he hoped to establish a banana plantation. They saw how the poultry rushed the coconut pulp as food and the professor claimed it was the ideal egg production food.  Then he led them to the rock pool in the gorge at the back of the house. The fern covered chasm was 50 feet deep, with a never failing, babbling stream of the purest and softest water imaginable. The gloomy coolness was covered with luxuriant trees that met over the stream and hundreds of birds sang in this isolated sanctuary. A little rock dam formed a pool from which domestic water was pumped to several points and on the lower side of the barrier was a naturally formed bathing pool, deep enough to lie down in and get a good soaking. The professor was concerned about the ‘booze’ and poker parties that would occasionally visit the island, bringing their guns and showing lack of concern with the use of fire. Left behind would be bottles and cans, littering the island that Banfield had loved. Proposals had been made to build a motel on the island and open it to day-trippers, but Professor Goddard felt that would have been sacrilege for such pure and idyllic surroundings. Goddard’s intention was to preserve Dunk Island for all time as a marine biological station and experimental horticultural farm. Short, with piercing eyes and an unruly forelock, Goddard had enormous physical energy and a wide range of enthusiasms. An incisive and forthright lecturer, he was popular both with students and extramural audiences. Goddard died in 1948, while setting up a marine research station at Heron Island on the eve of his retirement. [4]  His plan for Dunk Island would have pleased Ted Banfield as he and Bertha had become active campaigners for the preservation of the bird life on Dunk and surrounding islands. Francois remained at anchor the next day and a party took out the dinghy to troll for mackerel. Fresh water was carried from the island to fill up the main tank and they were able to take a pleasant bath and wash clothes.  They took their sails and awnings ashore in the launch and hung them out to dry on trees. The ship’s log describes their day - “10:30am.  ‘S S Innisfail’ dropped stores. Weather variable.  Nice patches of sunlight but mostly cloudy with several showers. Present of milk and fruit from the party at house. Wylie, the Custodian, kindly baked a batch of bread for us.  Very good.” The following morning, at 9:20am, Francois hove up and proceeded through Hinchinbrook Channel to Lucinda Point in fine weather. At 11:20am they passed Goold Island and continued under steam with a light morning breeze and a moderate sea. At mid-afternoon, they dropped anchor off the west end of Lucinda Point Wharf in 4 3/4 fathoms 300 yards from end of wharf. Before dawn the next day, a black, drizzly morning, they hove up at high tide and crossed the bar. Five hours later they came to anchor off the Aboriginal Station at Palm Island. “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears.” Dunk Island 1928 The palm avenue on Dunk Island 1928 The author on Dunk Island in 1998 S S Innisfail off Dunk Island 1928 Drying the washing on Dunk Island 1928 Purtaboi Island off Dunk Island. 1928 Second path leading up to Banfield’s house. 1928 Returning from Dunk Island. 1928 The party from Francois on the verandah of Banfield’s house in 1928. Williams collection.  Dunk Island In 1934 Dunk Island began its new life  as a tourist destination. During World War II the island was  annexed by the Royal Australian Air  Force and secret radar equipment was  installed near the island’s highest  point, Mt Kootaloo. Over the years the island has changed  hands many times and the resort has  grown in size and amenities.   Tropical Cyclone Yasi passed over  Bedarra and Dunk Island on 2nd and  3rd February 2011. The cyclone  unfortunately caused significant  damage to both properties, which have  been forced to close temporarily in  order to repair the damage.  Approaching Hinchinbrook Island in the yacht Francois. 1928. Williams Collection Hinchinbrook Island Protected since 1932, Hinchinbrook  Island is one of Australia's largest  island national parks (39,900 hectares)   In 1942, a US B24 Liberator bomber  crashed into a mountain on the island,  killing all 12 people on board. After World War II commercial  crocodile hunting in the area, nearly  reduced numbers to the point of  extinction by the 1960s.   The 2008 movie Nim's Island starring  Jodi Foster was partly filmed on the  island. Mystery shipwreck After cyclone Yasi in February 2011, a  30 metre long boat was unearthed on a  beach at Hinchinbrook Island. It is  believed the wrecked vessel had been  buried in the sand for more than 130  years. Timber samples have been sent  for identification in an effort to  formally identify the wreck.   Early Tourism on the Reef On 25th May 1928 an advertisement  appeared in the ‘Queenslander’  newspaper. A 24 day cruise to one of  the  ‘Wonders of the World’ by Thos.  Cook & Sons offered a trip “off the  beaten track” up the rivers Daintree  and Bloomfield through densely jungle-  clad mountains. On the Great Barrier  Reef passengers could drift across  coral reefs in a glass bottom boat. The  trip was advertised as suitable for  scientists, marine biologists, fishing  enthusiasts, conchologists, men with  leisure time and tired business men.