Middle Percy Island, Percy Isles Key

Lars Alfredson
Sat 31 Jan 2015 00:49

Lies at 21º45’S and 150º15’E, formerly a sheep farm is now permanently inhabited by 3 people and some short term guests.  A beautiful and peaceful place that has given us great moments and stunning sunsets, was last visited by a yacht 21 days ago.

Middle Island is the largest in the keys, first surveyed in 1806, has had many residents and was leased by the Whites family, who lived here for over forty years.

Currently there are 4 dwellings on the island.  The A frame on the beach , build by Andrew Martin, who lived here after the Whites moved back to the mainland.  Andrew bought the lease in 1964 and began catering to boaties needs. The A frame is the social point, where all meet and yachties can post their memorabilia. Is was also our first sight of Palm trees, not native to the area, planted here in the last quarter of last century.


The Homestead house (build in the 1920’s by the Canadian White family) is where John and Kate been living since 2008.  3,5km from the beach after one hour hot and sweaty steep trail you reach their hiding greeted by Bronte their chocolate Labrador. Surprisingly this spot is where the Fenestra signal reaches 2 bars and electricity and freezer are also available, powered by massive solar panel array. 60.000 liters rain water tank that also feeds the A frame and lower houses.

Food is plenty here.  Either wild goats, kangoroo or mangrove crabs.  Hidden behind the West Bay beach lies a lagoon – Tidal Boat Harbour. A tidal lagoon with a rocky entrance, that dries out thanks to the big tides.

Also on the beach is the telephone sheed, formerly the sheep wool storage and named now as the telephone sheed since it is used to house the phone line that connects the beach house to the main dwelling.

Currently 7 people are on the Island and two dogs.

Steve and his canine companion Diamond, a crossbreed of Dingo and Australian Sheep dog, lives in the Rondarval hut on the short track.  Diamond, loves to swim and gave me a scare, as she sneaked up from behind me for a sniff, while I was in the water setting the dinghy anchor.

There is also the Percy Island Yacht Club and a membership can be obtained, after a $160 fee.  No special privileges included, as this is a very commune spirit society.

Another Steve (A) lives in the tree house and has been coming and going for the last 5 years.  Greg “Brody” the wood sculptor has come back to the island to finish his totem pole as a tribute to this way of enjoying life.  The pole went up on the 29th of January and should be named today on the 1st of February.  Strong contender seems to be “Sanna.”  I overheard a nice conversation, between Mike and Donny …. “She has nice breast (the sculpture not Sanna) and a beautiful belly button … “, where the main points on their assessment of the piece’s artistic _expression_.

Donny has come over on his Tri-maran, moored to the mangrove trees in the tide lagoon.  A special character, in his 70’s he is of a very eccentric nature, alternative lifestyle, smokes home grown Tabaco and savours his moonshine “something”.  Definitively the liveliest and fashionable character on the Island.  Former church piano player and harmonica teacher he loves to swim naked in the afternoon.  Currently Steve (A) is shooting a video about Jimmy Joss’ life and Donny is playing Jim’s character.

Jimmy Joss was the first permanent resident to the Island, in 1860.  He helped to build the Pine Islet Lighthouse and in 1918, was taken to the mainland too old and ill to continue on the Island, leaving 1500 gold sovereigns buried beneath a special rock. (digging is not permitted as by national park rules and limitations).


The ghost of Pine Islet.  With a lighthouse established in 1885, it is know that a ghost wandered the Islet until 1980.  Dorothea Mackay died at the Islet in 1895 and in 1927 a replacement house was built on top of her original grave site.  She roamed the island for several years, tormenting the light keepers with loud nocturnal footsteps and rapping on the doors, until in 1980 she managed to enter the house and stop in the lounge room, on the spot directly above her original grave.  Since then she was never “felt” after.  RIP.