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History

The Oyster Bay Aboriginal tribe frequented this little island for many thousands of years, until about 200 years ago. They would have travelled across in bark canoes or perhaps even swam. Their shell middens, which can easily be seen beside the boardwalk on the Western end of the island, contain the remnants of countless shared meals of seal, birds, crayfish, abalone, oysters, and other shellfish.

Picnic Island was granted to Captain Robert Hepburn in 1829 when he arrived from Edinburgh with his wife and eight children.

As a seafaring man he particularly wanted Picnic Island included in his grant so he could use it as a breakwater for his boat.

He set up a whaling station at the foot of the Hazards mountains across the bay and when the whales weren’t running would set his convict labour to work mining sandstone from the island.

When constructing the retreat we discovered one block that was left behind by the convicts almost 200 years ago which now sits as a hearth under the fire place.