Visiting great-great grandfather's trapper huts at West Bay, Kangaroo Island

EARLY LIFE: Dorne Stevens at the hut built and lived in by the two sons of Alfred and Margaret Burgess. The sons' names were Alfred Charles Jnr (known as Charlie), and William (known as Bill).

EARLY LIFE: Dorne Stevens at the hut built and lived in by the two sons of Alfred and Margaret Burgess. The sons' names were Alfred Charles Jnr (known as Charlie), and William (known as Bill).

On Monday, October 28, I was delighted to trace some personal history on Kangaroo Island as I travelled to West Bay to the ruins of my great-great grandfather's trapper huts on the banks of the West Bay Creek.

Alfred Charles Burgess lived with Margaret and eight children (one a newborn) at West Bay for a couple of years in the mid 1870's.

Our little group's leader knew where she was going as we negotiated our way up the creek, dodging water holes, pushing through prickly acacia and crossing the creek bed up onto the sandy banks several times.

What a joyous educational experience to stand with the limestone boulders at our feet asking the myriad questions that arise as one contemplates how this family endured this rugged, wild and isolated locale and lifestyle...

Another 35 minutes up the creek we located the second hut built to house the older boys in the family. This hut built of quite different, but still local stone.

We Australians are often not good at acknowledging and caring for the evidences of our nation's story, which is made up of individual stories.

I have appreciated displays and information provided at the visitors center by National Parks on previous visits to KI but NOTHING can compare educationally with walking where they walked, standing where they stood and allowing observation, information, imagination and reflection to begin to take in the rich and beautiful totality of natural history and humanities engagement with it.

The best education ever!

Dorne Stevens, Happy Valley

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