2. Adelaide's Sanitorium
LIFE ON KANGAROO ISLAND.
(By Ethel A. Bates.)
Of the longevity of the people of the island the few original old pioneers are living witnesses silently yet laudably testifying to the healthful invigorating breezes and general climate of the island. Here we have no doctors with new fangled ideas of health-giving tonics. Under ordinary circumstances the islander has very little need of the services of the physician, and was humbly ask for no other tonic than the fresh inspiring breezes of our little island homes.
Notable among the old settlers for very many years resident here are Mrs. Willson, a grand old dame of 94 years; Mr. and Mrs, J. Buick, 85 and 80 years respectively; and Mr. E. Steen Bates, 57. The above-named, although all having reached more than the ordinary span of life, are comparatively youthful, each possessing their full faculties, whilst one of the old gentlemen attends exclusively to one of the largest orchards on Kangaroo Island. The trees and vines are tended and treated alone by this worthy old pioneer. Another of the abovenamed superintends and aids his laborers, and can, as a matter of fact, lift and carry about bags of barley. This speaks eloquently of the vitality of the islander.
Summer here is a pleasure. If the day is disagreeably warm for a few hours at midday, towards evening we are refreshed by cool sea breezes. This, with a plenitude of sea baths, makes summer a pleasing reality rather than a dreaded uncertainty.
Visitors to Kangaroo Island during the summer months are numerous, and each trip the steamers are crowded. Coming from the heat of an Adelaide summer down to Kangaroo Island is like passing from an engine-room to a refrigerator. Families who have once spent a summer here are, circumstances permitting, regularly welcomed during succeeding summers. A breath of our country air gives new lease of life, and if our comrades would try it the author of these articles will be charmed to welcome them.
Though it ill befits an islander to say it, still it is an acknowledged fact that the people here are the most generous, open-hearted, hospitable people in South Australia. No man is denied a meal, be he tramp, beggar, or sundowner. Amongst ourselves we have no cases of real distress. A "Kangarooster" knows not what it is to be compelled from sheer necessity to go without a meal. Thus cases of poverty and starvation easily arouse our sympathies; albeit we were severely deceived on one memorable occasion. A couple of men, looking for work and hoping they wouldn't find any, camped near one of the settlements. A whisper went round that they were starving, and soon our benevolent sympathies were enlisted on their behalf, the result being, that their camp was laden with townspeople's offerings. This lasted for some considerable time, and,still "our poor friends" snoozed in their bunks. Then we bethought ourselves that in our simpleness we had been duped. Now we are a trifle more exacting. "Once bitten, twice shy."
A gentleman recently, having business transactions here, remarked that if he were 'hard up' he would come to Kangaroo Island, as he had received enough invitations to 'stay a week' 'from one and the other that he almost decided to have a twelve-months' holiday, in which to visit his Kangaroo Island friends.
Kangaroo Island which has recently been described as "Adelaide's sanatorium," bids fair to become in time quite an up-to-date watering place, and visitors to this historic little spot will not only ensure a pleasant holiday, but a health-giving, pleasing tonic.