Flinders Island, Australia
Flinders is the largest island in the 52-island Furneaux Group in the Bass Strait northeast of Tasmania. The islands were occupied by Tasmanian Aborigines for millennia, but were unoccupied when Tobias Furneaux stumbled on them toward the end of the 18th century. Australians began a lucrative trade in sealskins and oil from the large colonies of seals on the islands. Today, Flinders is a favored getaway for holiday-makers seeking a low-key, natural escape. The island has beautiful beaches, peaks such as Mt. Strzelecki offering breathtaking views, and a friendly and resourceful population. The Furneaux Museum in Emita provides a wealth of information and artefacts tracing the checkered history of the island, including objects from numerous shipwrecks. At the venerable E. M. Bowman’s dry goods store in Whitemark, a History Room provides insight into island life through a retail lens. An ill-fated Aboriginal relocation community at Wyballena is recalled at the reconstructed Wyballena Chapel, which boasts the oldest long-drop toilet still in use in Australia, dating from the 1830s. Large sections of the island are set aside in the Strzelecki National Park and various nature reserves including the Darling Range.