Musings on Islandness

Australia comprises some 8222 islands. Thomas (2007) in her article Littoral space(s): Liquid edges of poetic possibility says, “Islands represent a microcosm of the universe – they thrive in a co-existence of autonomous and relational zones, in a mingling of universality and particularity”.

Between the two vast barrier islands of Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) and Minjerriba (North Stradbroke Island) and the mainland, is Moreton Bay that formed over 6,000 years ago as sea levels rose and inundated what was then the floodplains of the Brisbane River (Hall & Hiscock. 1988). With a tidal range between 1.5 and 2 metres, the mostly shallow waters of Moreton Bay filters light through to the seafloor, allowing flora and fauna to proliferate. The bay itself contains around 360 islands in total, only four of which are populated.

In my time on the island since 2000 as a community woman, I sought to understand its people and culture. I brought with me a rich history of art making with a strong social justice focus. I was deeply affected by the remarkable diversity of the Bay environment and its geological formation and my art making turned to having an environmental focus. The isolation of island life saw me reach out to unlikely collaborators in artful undertakings. The colonial history of the island beguiles its beauty and the effects of colonisation; the frontier wars, its mission, leper colonies and shipwrecks all add a remarkable character to the island community.


Hall, H. & Hiscock, P. (1988). The Moreton Regional Archeological Project. Retrieved from

Thomas, S. (2007). (s). Liquid Edges of Poetic Possibility. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 5(1), 21-29.