9. A trip to Kingscote
LIFE ON KANGAROO ISLAND.
(By Ethel A. Bates.)
On September 27 last the coastal steamship Juno made her maiden trip to Kangaroo Island. In order to advertise her adaptability invitation cards were distributed, inviting inspection of vessel and trip from Penneshaw to Kingscote, and from thence back free of charge. By 3 o'clock on the afternoon the steamer was moored along side the Hog Bay jetty, and a motley crowd had already assembled to inspect the much-talked-of, compact little boat. Having received an in-vitation, I was among the crowd.
After an hour or two of delay steam was got up, and before long we found ourselves bound for Kingscote, the boat being pretty well "stocked" with islanders. The steamer was not to return until next day, so much apprehension prevailed as to how we were going to find accommodation for the night: those who did not like to run the risk of spending a night in "the park" discreetly stayed behind. However, we determined to let the future take care of itself and enjoy the merry present.
The trip proved most enjoyable; we were all in the highest of spirits. Music and song and resort to the vessel's cosy corners made the time pass pleasantly. A quick trip across, occupying about two hours, resulted, and presently we were bustling ashore, sorry, perhaps, that our destination—Kingscote— was reached.
Owing to the limited amount of accommodation obtainable a hue-and-cry now followed for lodgings; those who did not appreciate "a night in the park" took to their heels and raced to secure accommodation. I walked along more leisurely, comforting myself by the thought that it it meant the park I must be thankful for small mercies, noticing that the park appeared to form the entire background, apparently stretching for miles to the south.
However, fortune favored me, as it always does, as I secured a room without much trouble. I now gave myself up to enjoyment, which consisted principally of greeting old friends and acquaintances, who were preparing to take a short trip on the Juno in the vicinity of Kingscote.
Acting on the impulse of the moment and the persuasion of my friends, I determined to board the boat again and enjoy the novelty and pleasure of a moonlight trip on the water. The Juno was literally swarmed with Kingscoters of every variety and description; so dense was the crowd one could scarcely breathe in comfort. Nothing daunted (the energy of the Kingscoter is something remarkable), a space was cleared for dancing. Such a degree of hilarity was new to me; my eyes, and I daresay my mouth too, was opened wide in undisguised amazement. After being jostled about rather inhumanly by the performers I thought it discreet to retire, so I found my way to the saloon. More order prevailed here, and many old favorite songs were sung with great enthusiasm, the choruses echoing through the vessel with incomparable force. Presently I was startled by the cry of "Oranges, bananas, lollies, peanuts." These were, of course, done justice to, and after refreshments the singing recommenced with renewed vigor. I now thought it time to retrace my steps to the roomy deck. Here dancing still continued, so I sought a secluded spot to watch proceedings.
Presently exclamations of dismay and consternation were heard, the reason for which I soon discovered was that we were again alongside the Kingscote jetty. It appears as if the Kingscoter has no end to his powers of endurance, as a bee-line was at once made for the Council Hall, where another orderly dance was conducted. I ultimately retired.
After a restless night I arose, and at 7 o'clock was downstairs, preparing for sight-seeing. A walk to the historical mulberry tree was proposed, so about eight or ten of us started, but, unfortunately, after proceeding about one-third of the distance fatigue overcame us, so we abandoned the idea and returned to breakfast. The remaining time at our disposal before our departure at 10 a.m. was spent in reviewing the prosperous little township of Kingscote.