Building the Flinders Cairn

Flinders Cairn on Kangaroo Head near Hog Bay, Kangaroo Island; it was erected by school children on the supposed site of Matthew Flinders first landing place on the island. Image c.1910, courtesy State Library SA, Searcy collection. PRG-280-1-44-115

August 11 was the day chosen for the building of the Flinders Cairn on Kangaroo Head to mark the landing of Capt. Flinders in March, 1802, and the naming of the island and Mount Lofty. Mr. C. E. Owen Smyth, I.S.O., selected the site on a reserve near the sea, close to little inlets - any one of which might have been the chosen landing place of Capt. Flinders. A grassy knoll with plenty of stone near was chosen and the spot marked, during Mr. Owen Smyth's visit three weeks ago.

"An early start was made (writes our Penneshaw correspondent), as we wished to build the cairn in the one day, and before the first helpers appeared a good start had been effected by the five who began— Messrs. Nettleton and Maher (the Govern ment workmen), Messrs. J. Simpson, G. Barrett, and the hon. secretary to the movement (Mrs. Stow), Messrs. Humphreys, Bull, Clatworthy, and Master Humphreys were the next to appear, and when they got their coats off and set to work the building grew.

A party of school children followed, and they set to work at once collecting little stones for the filling in. Mr. Howard (Chairman of the District Council) arrived shortly after, and the scene was an animated one. More than half the cairn was built and the cut stone, inscribed "Cairn erected in 1906 to mark supposed position of Kangaroo Head where Capt. Flinders, R.N., landed in 1802," was fixed in position, when we stopped for luncheon. Baskets were unpacked and the tea—billy tea in real picnic fashion—handed round, and our long walk and hard work having given us a good healthy appetite we set to on the provisions as heartily as on any work undertaken that morning.

About three hours after lunch the crowning stone was put on, the cairn whitewashed, and the work finished. The road along the coast is rather rough, but still it is a road, and the cairn can be reached by the public without trespassing. Besides those named Mr. and Mrs. J. Radcliff and family, Mrs. J. Seymour, Miss M. Seymour, Mr. J. Murray, Mr. O. Owre, Miss L. Bates, and Mr. E. L. Bates; and the following school children assisted:— Pearl Bates, Annie Seymour, Violet Bennett, Lilly, Daisy, and Hilda Owre, Esther Ada Madge, and Alfie Humphreys, Elsie and Bessie Bates, Blanche Buick, and Fred Ratcliff.

The cairn shows up splendidly, the situation being an excellent one. The shelter over Frenchman's Rock will be finished in a day or two, and Penneshaw is the richer by two memorials that will last many years with ordinary care, and two places of historic interest are now suitably marked."

Thank you to Faye Barrett for finding this article.

BUILDING THE FLINDERS CAIRN. (1906, August 18). Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), p. 28. quality original)