12. Cape Willoughby
LIFE ON KANGAROO ISLAND.
(By Ethel A. Bates.)
About the beginning of November last we decided to pay a visit to Cape Willoughby, the hot winds of summer were blowing, the heat adding much to our discomfort. However, swift driving soon dispelled this, to a certain extent, and the drive from Penneshaw to Willoughby—a distance of 18 miles—despite disagreeable weather, proved enjoyable. After climbing the hills and gullies near Penneshaw, good, straight, metal, and ironstone roads favor us until the site of the china clay mine is readied, which is some eight miles on the journey. Little of interest meets the eye, whilst traversing this distance, excepting a charming landscape near Cuttlefish, in the vicinity of the Bald Hills.
After passing this the roads wind over hills and gullies, until Antechamber Bay is reached—this is another pretty little spot. Here there lies a large lake of water almost at all times of the year. There is also a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach, a favorite rendezvous for picnikners. Near here we pass the homesteads of Messrs. Simpson, Clark, and Lashmar.
The sea is now lost to view until descending the brow of the hill near Cape Willoughby. A striking panorama is spread before us, the lighthouse, together with The Pages, with fringing of white foam, around them, presenting a romantic-looking picture.
Before sightseeing we partake of luncheon, after which a start was made to climb the lighthouse, which is some 70 ft. in height, and 140 ft. above sea level. Through the kindness of Mr. Payne, one of the keepers, we were enabled to thoroughly examine its construction and method of working. The extreme cleanliness and preciseness everywhere predominating, called for touch admiration and comment. The charm of the revolving light arrangements, impressed me greatly; we were escorted out to the balcony at the top of the lighthouse. Whilst here, I felt almost over come with dread; looking down from such an immense height, almost overhanging precipitous cliffs, composed entirely of huge granite boulders, against which the sea beats incessantly with such force that one can scarcely hear oneself speak. The scene is one of majestic grandeur, and one cannot help feeling one's utter helplessness and insignificance, when compared with such evidences of the illimitable forces of Nature. The stretch of scenery is magnificent.
We descended the winding flight of stairs with, much less difficulty than we mounted them a few minutes previously, and presently found ourselves on terra-firma, I with a consciousness within my breast that the life of a lightkeeper is not a position to covet; albeit, the fact that my favorite heroine, Grace Darling, was associated with one, has left an indelible impression on my mind, and lighthouses never fail to awaken within me an inexplainable sense of awe and isolation.
Our party were also shown the flag-room, where a great collection of flags and signals met our view. Needless to say, their language had to us no meaning. I regretted somewhat that I had not studied flag-lore.
Next followed an inspection of farming operations, which are carried on near by by the Messrs. Fraser. The young ladies had to decline this invitation, however, as the grass is of such height that it is hard work forcing a path through it, besides which grass seeds were not a little plentiful.
Some six or eight houses form the settlement of Cape Willoughby. These are for the most part the homesteads of the light keepers; they are painted pure white, which gives them a somewhat striking appearance. Having viewed all the items of interest, and once more appreciating the repast again offered us, we departed, carrying with us delightful recollections of the hospitality of its population, and a pleasant retrospect of our first visit to Cape Willoughby.