An Island of One’s Own

Tuesday December 13, 2016 Written by Genevieve

The King of Tassie

Badger Island, one of the 78 Furneaux Group islands between Tasmania and Victoria, has an unusual story – particularly for this day and age. Not only is it completely devoid of human life save for one small family, but that family – along with its livestock – has inhabited the island exclusively for three generations. The family patriarch, a 91-year-old named Alf Stackhouse, is something of a legend around that part of Australia, having spent his entire life doing what he continues to do now: farming, sailing and caring for the land.

Up until his 80s, Alf could also add flying to his list of weekly tasks, as operating an isolated place like Badger Island required lots of to-ing and fro-ing between the Furneaux Group for supplies. “You’d come and go when you wanted, come home when you wanted,” he recently told the ABC. That Alf has recently given up his pilot's license is really only a minor setback, considering he can still sail his boat as he pleases, which is more than most people of his vintage can boast.

The King of Tassie

Most of the daily duties on the Stackhouse family farm have now been delegated to Alf’s younger family members, and when Alf hangs up his boots for good, the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania will take control of Badger Island. After officially returning the island to them some 20 years ago, the ALCT allowed the Stackhouses to continue operating on the land, as a sign of appreciation for the work and dedication of its very singular, stalwart grandfather.  

To learn more about Alf and his remarkable family, take a look at this article from ABC news.

Image credit: David Fraser, Landline.