Queensland Places - Restoration

Restoration Island is located high up on the east coast of Cape York, just to the south of Portland Roads.  The small island was named in 1789 by Captain William Bligh during his long and dangerous voyage in an open boat, after being cast adrift by the Bounty mutineers.  Bligh had landed here with his companions to search for food and water as well as to rest and recover. He named the island Restoration and planned to stay long enough for his crew to be restored to health.  Eventually he continued his voyage with his ultimate destination being Timor.

He sailed past Cape Grenville without landing despite good availability of water as well as fish and shellfish.  His journal records his desire to avoid any conflict or violence with the local Aboriginal peoples.  However, before leaving Australian waters he did land on another small island, Sunday Island, gathering shellfish and other necessary supplies.  They then continued their long voyage to Timor and safety.

Portland Roads, located close to Restoration Island, was previously the port and support centre for Iron Range.  As well, Portland Roads played an important role as an airstrip and staging post during World War Two.

Restoration Island

Restoration Island

The area is now popular with tourists and forms part of the Iron Range National Park.  This image, undated, shows Restoration Island from the sea, with this view probably similar to how the island would have been seen by Bligh and his crew.  In terms of the island’s name, it is also recorded that Bligh named the island Restoration Island to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, that brought Charles II to the throne.  May 29, the date upon which Blight visited Restoration Island was also Charles II's birthday.

Brian Randall - Librarian, State Library of Queensland.

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