Salt Lagoon

It is impossible to identify the exact position of ‘Salt Lagoon’. The most likely location is that given in S.M. Mowle’s 1831 chart of Kangaroo Island (see Link to Map below), which locates it a short distance inland from modern Kingscote, on Nepean Bay. Mowle’s chart was based upon Captain George Sutherland’s observations when he explored the area in 1819. Sydney merchant and ex-convict, Mary Reiby, despatched Sutherland to Kangaroo Island to collect sealskins and salt, vital to the sealing trade and then fetching £10 a ton. Indeed, from 1818, colourful sealer, John Anderson, controlled the salt trade around Nepean Bay. In their diaries Samuel Stephens and the John Pirie diarist (probably John Brown) both refer to visiting ‘the Salt Lagoon’ from ships anchored in Nepean Bay. The directions their parties took and the distances they travelled are similar to those given by Captain Sutherland. Sutherland placed it three quarters of a mile inland and about four miles along the coast from the preferred ships’ anchorage, about five miles in all. Stephens estimated the distance at about eight miles, but this could be explained by a different anchorage, the distance the party had to travel in a small boat to reach the shore and miscalculation on either party’s behalf.

Click here to view an image of Salt Lagoon from the National Library of Australia.

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