Kangaroo Island sail trade comes to life on new 'Mosquito Fleet II' DVD

Chris and Christine Frizell, presenting disc number 1 to Ian King at American River last Friday. Ian played a pivotal role in mentoring and teaching me about the trade, resulting eventually in my getting a job on the Falie and Nelcebee.
Chris and Christine Frizell, presenting disc number 1 to Ian King at American River last Friday. Ian played a pivotal role in mentoring and teaching me about the trade, resulting eventually in my getting a job on the Falie and Nelcebee.

Chris Frizell was lucky to work on the sailing ketches that plied the waters around Kangaroo Island carrying goods of all shapes.

Unusually for the 1970s, he had with him an 8mm movie camera and he captured some of the magic of what was known as the Mosquito Fleet.

Now his footage has been edited and turned into a DVD called "Mosquito Fleet II - Film of the last decade of sail in the Kangaroo Island trade".

Mosquito Fleet II - Film of the last decade of sail in the Kangaroo Island trade.

Mosquito Fleet II - Film of the last decade of sail in the Kangaroo Island trade.

This is the second in the series by producer Rodney Clarke, whose first DVD featured other rare footage of the SA trading ketches that worked out of Port Adelaide in 1950s.

Mr Frizell, who now lives in Strathalbyn but also has a house at American River, said he was really pleased that his own footage had now been turned into a DVD for everyone to see.

"It is an hour long, and features on board and shore based colour footage and stills of the last two ketches, Falie and Nelcebee, to trade to Kingscote and American River, taken between 1975 and 1982," he said.

"There is also some archival film and stills of ketches generally. The Kangaroo Island Trade was the very last trade to feature the ketches, which had been trading in SA since the mid 1800's.

"It was the second last trade in Australia that worked cargo under sail, next to the two similar vessels in Tasmania.

"I took this on a small 8mm Kodak Movie camera, with the thought in my mind that sometime soon, it would be all over, and no-one would have recorded it.

"It is unique, and shows a life that has gone forever. It is not intended to be a history of the ketches, merely a snapshot of my time in them."

The ketches carried everything from livestock to super phosphate to cars, most of which was unloaded at American River.

"Half the houses in American River would be made with material brought over on the ketches," he said.

Mosquito Fleet II - Film of the last decade of sail in the Kangaroo Island trade.

Mosquito Fleet II - Film of the last decade of sail in the Kangaroo Island trade.

Mr Frizell and his partner Christine visited Kangaroo Island in July and happened to check out the archaeological dig at the RIG shed in American River.

While at American River, Mr Frizell presented disc number 1 to his mentor Ian King.

"Ian played a pivotal role in mentoring and teaching me about the trade, resulting eventually in my getting a job on the Falie and Nelcebee," he said.

The DVD is available at the Kingscote Gift Shop and soon other locations.

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