We are still in Kingscote, which was the site of the first settlement in SA. The Duke of York (a ship called a Barque), from a UK based South Australian Company, arrived at Reeves Point on July 27th 1836. Today we visited the point, which is a very picturesque area, today housing picnic tables, a BBQ, toilets, a bird hide and a wonderful view of The Bay of Shoals. There is something very peaceful about Kangaroo Island; everywhere we have been has a relaxing feel and the people are very friendly. The only exception is at Brown Beach, which is on the main road to the ferry. At the point, we wandered around the area and saw where the first post office once existed on the waterfront. It was demolished in 1954, but serviced the town from 1883 until 1938. A cairn has been constructed on the site, using “Kangaroo” brand bricks, made at Penneshaw in 1880, in addition to some of the original English bricks. Water was monopolised by the South Australian Company, but the company failed to gain title to the land. The settlement lasted less than 4 years. Most settlers relocated to Adelaide, but a few brave pioneers remained and formed the nucleus of the community that exists today. One of these pioneers, Mrs Watts, found the well in 1890, containing fresh spring water, which ended up to be their constant supply of water, apart from rain water collected from their roofs.
Yesterday we went to Duck Lagoon, another well designed and lovely area, with all the same facilities and water in the lagoon! Loads of birds, but the land is incredibly dry, wherever we go. All the ground is brown and sandy, no grass to speak of.
From the lagoon we visited Clifford’s Bee Farm. Their Ligurian bees are from thoroughbred stock, brought over from Liguria, in Italy, in 1885. Now, Kangaroo Island is the only place in the world where Ligurian bees can be found.
Clifford’s had a glass hive on display, full of bees, which was very interesting to watch, 100s on the move in and out every minute. Usually, up to 60,000 bees are in each hive, the drones feed the Queen Bee royal jelly. The female bees collect the pollen and in their short lives they travel thousands of kilometres to collect pollen. They have to feed the male drones and it is the drone’s job to fertilise the queen, who lays 2000 eggs a day! She only lives approximately 5 years. When she dies the bees collect 5-6 larvae and feed them royal jelly. This changes the larvae from normal bees to Queen bees. However the first one to hatch uses their straight sting to kill the other larvae before they hatch, to secure her position as the only Queen.
We also visited the Bay of Shoals Winery – fabulous setting, overlooking Reeves Point and wonderful wines. We ordered so much that we had to arrange freight to Mt Eliza! A great lightly wooded chardonnay to a delicious sparkling red! We couldn’t help ourselves!