Celebrations planned to mark the centenary of Flinders Chase

STUNNING SCENERY: Flinders Chase National Park attractions include wild beaches, vast wilderness areas and cultural heritage sites. Photo by Colin Wilson
STUNNING SCENERY: Flinders Chase National Park attractions include wild beaches, vast wilderness areas and cultural heritage sites. Photo by Colin Wilson

October 16, 2019 will mark 100 years since Flinders Chase was set aside for nature and heritage conservation purposes, although it wasn’t declared a national park until 1958. 

Flinders Chase National Park is now seen by many to be the jewel in the crown of both tourism and conservationism in South Australia, drawing in visitors from around the globe.

Rob Ellis, Parks and Sustainable Landscapes manager at Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, said that it would be a testament to the hard work and effort put into the national park when Flinders Chase turns 100 next year.

“From the early pioneers that fought long and hard to earn the park the protection it deserves, to those today who continue to strive towards keeping Flinders Chase such a bastion for wildlife and endemic plants, we owe them all a debt of gratitude,” Mr Ellis said.

“All islanders should be proud of Flinders Chase National Park, and I would like to invite everybody down to the park to help us celebrate next year.”

A number of events will be held through 2019, building up to key celebrations and a fun and varied spread of activities that the community and visitors can participate in in the week of October 8 to 16. 

The activities will celebrate all aspects of the park; from its abundant wildlife, unique plants and fungi, to its geological features, archaeology and heritage of importance to Europeans and Aboriginal people.

A key element in caring for parks and reserves such as Flinders Chase is the role of volunteers, including “Friends” groups that help maintain the parks, working alongside parks staff. 

Friends of Parks Kangaroo Island Western District president Rick Andrews said that we all had a part to play in ensuring that Flinders Chase National Park got its moment to shine.

“Flinders Chase is a key part of this island, bringing in thousands of visitors every year while safeguarding countless numbers of animals, plants and fungi,” Mr Andrews said.

“The hard work of volunteers to remove weeds, conduct surveys, assist with the maintenance of paths, and such like, provides a clear indication of what ‘the chase’ means to the Kangaroo Island community and long may it continue.”

So why not make plans to discover or return to Flinders Chase in 2019?

Help the Island mark this major milestone and join in the celebrations from October 8 to 16, 2019 with activities including:

  • Citizen science
  • Science presentations
  • Guided walks
  • Local performances and demonstrations
  • Competitions
  • Live music, bush dance and concert
  • Children’s activities: nature play, eco-art and bush picnics
  • Plaque unveiling and more!

For more information visit Natural Resources Kangaroo Island website, which will be updated with activities: https://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/kangarooisland/get-involved/Flinders_Chase_100 

History of Flinders Chase

Flinders Chase will celebrate its 100th anniversary on October 16, 2019. Its dedication as a reserve in 1919 was no small achievement and, in fact, was the result of nearly three decades of tireless lobbying by the Royal Society of South Australia led by Samuel Dixon.

The society’s dogged commitment to the preservation of Flinders Chase as habitat for Kangaroo Island’s unique flora and fauna is a testament to their foresight into the importance of conservation, particularly at a time when this concept was not well understood by decision-makers.

Their efforts resulted in a ground-breaking piece of legislation; The Flora and Fauna Reserve Act 1919 whose purpose was to establish a Reserve on Kangaroo Island for “the Protection, Preservation, and Propagation of Australasian Fauna and Flora, and to provide for the Control of such Reserve, and for other purposes”.

The dedication of Flinders Chase as a reserve in 1919 signified the beginning of 100 years of active management for conservation at the site. The anniversary of this event offers the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on what has made Flinders Chase the place it is today, and to look to the future to see how we can continue to preserve it for future generations.

The park’s coastal scenery includes Admirals Arch, a beautiful natural rock arch shaped by the powerful Southern Ocean, and the sculptured granite boulders known as Remarkable Rocks.

Other attractions include wild beaches, the unspoiled Rocky River, vast wilderness areas and cultural heritage sites – including two lighthouses.

Discover some of Kangaroo Island’s secrets at the Flinders Chase Visitor Centre where our natural and cultural heritage are showcased with interactive screens, a touch table and a fossil dig pit for kids. It’s a great place for families, with coffee, lunch and souvenirs available from the Chase Café.

Set deep in Flinders Chase National Park, you will find three roomy lighthouse keeper’s cottages built in 1907 from local limestone. Now fully restored and heritage listed, a stay in one of these cottages is a unique experience. You will find them on the south west tip of KI at Cape Du Couedic.

The majority of the park is accessible by 2WD, so it’s perfect for day visits and an ideal place to view wildlife in its natural habitat.

Set within Flinders Chase National Park, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is one of Australia’s great walks.

Nature's secrets are waiting to be discovered at every step of the 61 kilometre five-day trek, with the trail weaving its way through the most botanically unique area in all of South Australia before reaching the rugged, remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean.