Monday, 11 April 2016

I is for Infants and Islands #AtoZChallenge2016


I is for infants and islands.

The Walker family, as many in their era, suffered the loss of infants. While their three daughters survived to live long and fulfilling lives, their daughters were not so fortunate.

Florence and James Harvison lost an infant son (Thomas Alexander) when he was only ten days old in October 1896. Frances and William Higham were fortunate and escaped that sadness. While Georgina and Herbert Porter lost a daughter (Florence Mary) within her first year in 1915.

Child mortality in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was high and major attention was focused on diphtheria, infant diarrheal illnesses, tuberculosis, streptococcal infections and their complications, and other pediatric infections such as scarlet fever. There is a good article in the journal Nature called “The history of paediatric infectious diseases”1.

How fortunate we are now in the twenty-first century to have modern medicine at our fingertips. SO many of my family have lost multiple children as infants – I can’t imagine how devastating that would be – some ancestors lost four or five children in infancy and still managed to carry on with their lives. I think those women were brave beyond belief.

Now for the Islands …

Mackay has a number of islands immediately off the coast. The Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park, which surrounds the islands, gives recognition and protection to the area’s significant marine values.

The Cumberland Island Group lie protected inside the Great Barrier Reef off the coast from Mackay. Access to the less developed southern islands is from Mackay or Seaforth by private boat charter. Captain Cook named the Cumberland islands, European settlements and grazing began around the turn of the century on St Bees2.

Many historical accounts record a long history of use of the islands dating from European settlement to the present with many of the islands having seen attempts of settlement beginning in the late 1800s for grazing, timber harvesting, homestead and tourism leases.

Both the Darumbal and Yuibera people have a strong connection with the islands in this area. The Ngaro people also have a strong connection to the northern islands and were sea country specialists using the rich marine resources of the intertidal zones, fringing reefs, and surrounding seas to support their community.

These islands are also important rookies for flatback and green turtles which are protected. St Bees Island also has a colony of koala habitats. Within the Cumberland Island, Brampton, Carlisle, Scawfell, Goldsmith, Cockermouth, Keswick, and St Bees are all national park islands3.

Mackay Location Map


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