The cruise of the Francois 1928 Island hopping 28th May to 2nd June 1928 On 28th May 1928, Francois departed into a very fine, bright morning, with a light breeze and a moderate sea. Just after midday, she tied up at the Townsville concrete wharf. After taking in fuel, supplies and water they departed early the next morning. After passing Cape Cleveland, off Cape Bowling Green, the water continued calm and they set all sail to help the engine. The fine, clear weather prevailed with a clear, smooth sea. By evening they took in all sail and anchored under Gloucester Island. According to the log they had spent “The most beautiful day of the trip.” Departing Gloucester Island, Francois made another good stretch to windward on the way home under pleasant, fine and clear weather conditions with a light westerly breeze. Within an hour, she anchored off Passage Isle and the men armed themselves with two shotguns, a rifle and a revolver and went ashore to search a lagoon that was marked on their map as the habitat for ducks and pigs. No shots were fired although they saw signs of pigs. They cleared the passage before lunch as a fresh south-easterly sprung up and by mid-afternoon the wind increased in strength and it became very cold. © Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds Did You Know?  The Sawmill on Cid Island John Withnall, a native of Stafford,  England, arrived in Bowen in 1883 the  day after a cyclone had razed the  town. Being a carpenter, Withnall used  his services in rebuilding devastated  homes. In 1884 he went to Eton Vale  Station where he took up pit sawing  and splitting shingles from the native  oak from which he built the  homestead.   His next venture was acquiring a  sawmill at Bowen which he dismantled  and took to Proserpine. Then came the  great adventure. The plant was moved  to Cid Harbour where Withnall made  use of the extensive stands of pine on  the island. Life on the island was not  without its adventures. In 1896 he and  his party were caught in Cyclone Sigma  and washed ashore on Gloucester  Island where they existed for eight  days on oysters. For sixteen years he  transported his pine timber to Bowen  and Townsville to be used in the  developing settlements. He also built a  dam on the island to ensure adequate  water and the relics of this and his  steam boiler remained for many years.  Withnall returned to the mainland in  1904 and carried on with general  carpentry and building.  Information taken from Townsville Daily Bulletin - Thursday 6 July 1950 page 5 “4:40pm.  Anchored in Cid Harbour in 3 fathoms off the site of the old sawmill. Party at once went ashore.  Got 20 fine Trevally in the net and some Tarwhine bream.” At midnight, Duncan caught the first Kingfish of the trip. Resuming the journey south next morning, they passed Dent Island Lighthouse that had been in operation for fifty years. When the yacht was about five miles off Hammer Island, they altered course and stood over to Silversmith Island to investigate a steamer in strange position there.  The mystery proved to be the lighthouse tender Cape York erecting a new light on a rock to the south-east of the island. Curiosity satisfied, they set course from Silversmith to Keswick Island. Night was not far away when Francois anchored at the entrance to Egremont Passage on the Keswick Island side. It had been another splendid day followed with fine weather, and again they made good progress to windward under steam. With an hour of daylight left, they took advantage of the calm water to do some fishing. Their arrival drew the attention of the resident of Keswick Island, Joseph Busuttin, who arrived to welcome the visitors in his boat Florence.  Busuttin and Captain Kerr greeted each other warmly as old friends. Later that evening the sand began to fly off the beach and there was every indication of heavy S.E. wind. The gusts continued overnight, so the next day Francois remained at anchor in Whispering Bay at St Bees Island. Too windy to venture outside and continue their journey, it was a pleasant excuse to spend the time ashore with the Busuttins. Joe Busuttin explained that he had been born on Malta and taken up the lease on St Bees Island in 1907, stocking it with sheep, cattle and horses.  In 1916, with his wife Sarah and five children, Busuttin settled on Keswick Island. The family had also held the lease of Brampton Island since 1916 and had Government permission to breed chinchilla rabbits for fur, on Brampton and Keswick. By 1928 Joe Busuttin was farming 5,000 sheep on St. Bees Island. The great variation of vegetation on the island – tall, sea-green Hoop Pines, luxuriant, tropical rainforest and colonies of broad-leaf, evergreen mangroves impressed the party from Francois. “June 1 1928 At anchor Whispering Bay, “L” Island. Too much wind outside, so spent the day ashore with the Busettin [sic] family who treated us royally.  We carted 60 gallons of water for the tanks and had a bath ashore. Some of party had dinner ashore and visited again in the evening.  Mr Busettin gave us a case of splendid bananas and limes.  He is one of nature’s gentlemen with a charming wife and splendid sons.  We spent one of the pleasantest days of the trip at St Bees on ‘L’ Island.” An early photo of the Busuttin family. The Busuttin’s home and garden. 1928 Image courtesy JAhern Panoramio  ID: 24962867 Cid Harbour - click to enlarge