Don't Camp at Vivonne Bay Kangaroo Island if holidays are on

Submitted: Friday, Jan 27, 2012 at 21:30
ThreadID: 91498 Views:27708 Replies:13 FollowUps:10
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Hi thought people might like to consider our experience with some the redneck locals from Kangaroo Island
Our family had our Christmas holidays on Kangaroo Island ruined when we were run off Kangaroo Island by aggressive redneckKingscote locals camping at Vivonne Bay Council Camping Ground. Despite two phone conversations requesting police assistance (000) as we feared we would be assaulted the police did not attend. We heard from other locals that this behaviour of intimidation to move people on occurs every year so I would advise that you do not camp there if there is any chance local will be camping there (Christmas until end of January, long weekends, Easter etc.) unless you are prepared to fend (fight) for yourself or put up with selfish bogan locals that give a fantastic holiday destination a bad name. Note : an official police complaint has also been lodged.
My family, wife and two children 9 & 11had been staying at the Vivonne Bay councilcampsite since 26th December 2011.
After we’d spent four hours setting up Vivonne Bay locals had told us when we arrived that Kingscote locals would be coming soon for swimming lessons on January 4th 2012 and we should consider moving somewhere else. We had assumed this was because of crowding but because we had gone to such an effort to get a good campsite (driving all the way from Melbourne on Christmas day) we thought we’d be able put up with any inconvenience.
When the Kingscote locals arrived (approximately 30th December 2011) Redhead, the ringleader , a stocky balding mid 40 year old man who strutted around the camping ground with a stubby in his hand (always) like a rooster immediately came over and asked my wife when we were leaving. From that time on there was little verbal or eye contact from him and most of the Kingscote locals who clearly wanted us to move from the best site.
On Saturday morning (1.15am), 7th January 2012, I went across to adjoining two campsites (one of whose was Redhead’s) to ask campers to reduce noise level as I had trouble sleeping because of their noise.
These campsites had been consistently making noise up until 11:00pm on most nights for the previous week. On Tuesday 3rd January at 12 midnight (ie Wednesday morning) I had also asked them to quite down . Eventually after another half an hour they had.
However on Saturday morning four (Kingscote locals camping on the grounds) became verbally abusive and behaving in a very aggressive manner.
At this time I immediately retreated to inside my camper with my family as their behaviour was clearly leading toward physical violence.
Immediately after, we began hearing people walking around our campsite in a threatening manner and making animal noises. It escalated when rocks were hurled on the top of our camper with all of us inside. We felt in danger. At this point I decided that it was dangerous to stay.
Because phone coverage was poor I got out the camper and walked the 30metres (to where reception was OK) and dialled 000.
I asked for the police to attend and then returned to the campsite to pack up.
For the next hour and a half, with intermittent verbal harassment from Redheads campsite intended to provoke me and my wife, we continued to quietly pack up under the assumption that the police would arrive from Kingscote (60kms away) at anytime.
The police did not show. We received a phone call from 000 asking us if the situation was ongoing and did we require assistance to which I replied “Yes”.
I could not answer the next two calls from an unknown caller as the signal kept dropping put and I dare not leave my family for too long alone especially given that we could not rely on police protection.
At approx 4:30 we had finished packing. As we drove out Redhead retired to his tent. Still feeling at risk especially now as we had realised we could not rely on the police, we drove immediately to Kingscote tired and exhausted and slept in the safety of our locked vehicle. As we justifiably had no confidence in the Kangaroo Island police force, we cut our holiday short and took the first ferry available off Kangaroo Island. It was only when we reached the mainland that we felt safe.
* Redhead – A Kangaroo Island local (probably Kingscote) driving a white late model ute with and logo of a well known in Australian agricultural corporation . It was his campsite that the three other aggressive men sat in, although silent himself he made no effort to moderate their behaviour or language.
Redhead campsite was in middle of camping grounds and not a designated camping site. He ran a extension power at height of approximately 8 feet through trees, across an area where vehicles travelled. My wife overheard him having a conversation with the cleaner about camping arrangements an he said he knew the person in the council managing the area quote “very well……very well….”.
Two people were the most aggressive.
By far the worst was a shortish, man, black beard who was called “Cory”
The other was a larger man with curly black hair.
Camping area was overcrowded. The Kingscote locals had slowly taken over most of the camping sites as others vacated enabling them to form a enclave (U shaped) with Redhead in the middle at the base of the U. Within this U their children could ride their bikes and play cricket.
The other campers were then crammed in the rest of the sites and had to regularly ask Kingscote locals to move their cars (often two per site) to move out of the way so they could get their own car out.
Each day you would see four or five of their young children (under six years old) return in the back of a utlility from the beach some 2kms. away where they had their powerboat moored.
I have travelled a lot throughout areas considered risky internationally and have camped in the outback throughout a lot of Australia, including spots were the locals are pretty wild but I can say have never experienced such an unrestricted naked hostility and threat of violence to my family as I did at Vivonne Bay. I can only assume they were pretty confident that they would get away with their behaviour .
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Reply By: Member - Mark R (SA) - Friday, Jan 27, 2012 at 22:39

Friday, Jan 27, 2012 at 22:39
Sorry to hear your experience of KI was tainted in such a fashion, John G2...

Have you considered contacting any of the local SA media regarding this?

Can I suggest:

(try Matt Abraham & David Bevan on Breakfast)

(Leon Byner - mornings)

(eMail address for Independent Daily)


I'm sure you should get a response from at least one of these media outlets if you provide them with the details as per your post above.

AnswerID: 476148

Follow Up By: old mate - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 12:27

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 12:27
also try

this is KI's local rag.

Also there is a local tourist organisation as well.
FollowupID: 751197

Follow Up By: GREENDOG ! - Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 at 20:04

Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 at 20:04
Yep i would not hesitate in ringing Leon Byner 9am till 1PM,he allso would be after a answer why the police didn't attend Phn No 0882230000 best of luck let the Sth Aussies knw your story.cheer's GREENDOG
FollowupID: 751344

Follow Up By: bob smith 1 - Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 13:14

Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 13:14
I think old Leon would be the worst person to seek advice from, 5 mins of his ranting and you realise what his motivation is.
While I agree he can handle him self well in an debate, it's easy when you have a dump button, but he only ever releases one side of the story, what rates and angers people.
On second thoughts maybe Leon would be the person to contact.
FollowupID: 751421

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 06:18

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 06:18
John G2

Sorry to hear you got the intimidation treatment.
Always remember to use some of modern technology, and video their behavior, the time it happens, Zoom in on faces, and number plates.

An old mate of mine did exactly that at an isolated, but very good, large open campsite in the middle of the Bush.

On the way home he dropped the video into the local Police Station.

AnswerID: 476165

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 09:34

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 09:34
...but did it do any good?
FollowupID: 751183

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 04:34

Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 04:34
I don't really know.
But "hard evidence" was given to the Cops
What else do they need ?

FollowupID: 751383

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 08:13

Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 08:13
video evidence of them speeding - that;ll shift 'em
FollowupID: 751391

Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 10:10

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 10:10

Sorry to hear that your holiday was ruined in this manner. Unfortunately drunken low lifes like these, although usually in the minority, can be a problem in many areas. To me the most disapointing aspect was the lack of response from the police. I would be wary of laying the blame solely at the feet of the local constabulary though as it seems undermanning is a problem Australia wide.

AnswerID: 476176

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 10:47

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 10:47
If you can be bothered, I'd be contacting both the council involved and the local chamber of commerce.

Business in these places derive significant income from tourists.

I am sure many will go elsewhere after reading this.

Kangaroo Island tourists not welcome....that seems to be the message.

AnswerID: 476183

Reply By: bob smith 1 - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 10:53

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 10:53
Iv'e camped, fished and surfed all over KI for the last 35 years and have never seen a spot of bother. I have always found the locals to be a pretty quite bunch, maybe they were from the mainland.
AnswerID: 476184

Reply By: member - mazcan - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 11:38

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 11:38
hi john g2
why didnt you contact s.a police headquarter and make a full report if you were so threatened and notify them that the police atkingscote are failing to do their duty when you first returned to the mainland
after all adelaide really isnt that far from the ferry terminal to drive there and make a full report
if would be far better than coming on here just to get everyones opinions and discuss what should have been done
you had all the evidence and have just let it ride
some times i wonder what peoples motives really are on this sight ?????
i dont condone bad behavior anywhere
but it needs to be dealt with in an immediate way straight after the event
and it also appears that you didnt bother contacting kingscote police before leaving the island
AnswerID: 476188

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 11:44

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 11:44
as always there;s two sides to every story and i get the feeling we have only heard 1 side???? all due respects
FollowupID: 751191

Follow Up By: Member - Krakka - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 12:21

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 12:21
"adelaide really isnt that far from the ferry terminal" No? I live much closer to Adelaide than the ferry terminal, and I couldn't be bothered driving there. Should we all drive to Adelaide when we need the police?
Surely ringing for assistance should suffice.
FollowupID: 751196

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 18:24

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 18:24

Without knowing how the "000" people handled the situation, it is not fair to make any comments even in relation to the Kingscote Police.

My son had an issue a number of years ago and called the local Police number at 4am in the morning, requesting Police help in Clare. Seeing that the local Police shifts had finished at 2am, all calls to the local station were then diverted to Adelaide.

I was then involved and as usual, no Police ever arrived, even after a second phone call 20 minutes later, being assured that a Police officer was on his way.

As Clare is a small town and me being a JP, I have lots of personal contact with the local boys in blue and know them all on a personal basis, some more than others. Next morning I rang the local station to make a complaint and then the " bleep Hit the Fan".

The Clare Police at no stage ever received any calls from Adelaide and the local Sergeant was then involved, he was furious, going to the point of giving me his silent home and mobile numbers, demanding what ever the time of day it was, to call him in any future events.

A few weeks lated I received a letter from the Police Office in charge from our region, at that time in the Barossa Valley, stating that he had made an official complaint on my behalf to what ever department in Adelaide and sighted my case.

I know that it was long and drawn situation and the Police in Adelaide were at fault. The local Police were sick of being assured of not doing their job, when in fact they were never given any information.

In this case, an official complaint should be lodged, as it is a clear case that somewhere along the chain of phone calls, there was a clear brake in procedures and it could have become a life threatning situation, and someone must be accountable for not doing their job.


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FollowupID: 751232

Reply By: skulldug - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 12:37

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 12:37
Thanks for altering us John g2. This kind of thing happens occasionally. Shame you didn't get video of the guy with his kids in the back of the ute to post on YouTube.

AnswerID: 476194

Follow Up By: SDG - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 19:34

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 19:34
See that sort of thing every year at Mystery Bay. Kids in utes, standing on sidesteps, sitting on bull bars etc. All to save a little walking.

Must admit a few years back I was doing the same thing.
FollowupID: 751239

Reply By: PeterInSa - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 15:06

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 15:06
Thanks John,
Will keep your advice in mind when I next go to KI.

AnswerID: 476208

Reply By: Member - Terra'Mer - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 18:09

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 18:09
Sorry you experienced that side of KI. It is a real problem that the police can't deal with.
I completely understand how you feel. I lived and worked there for a while. Started work in the shearing sheds as a roustabout and that was very intimidating, especially as some of the locals I worked with, having several generations residing in the local cemetery, felt it was their responsibility to ensure I was put in my place and only allowed to stay on if I was tough enough. Due to some of the less wholesome culture of the shearing sheds I quit and started working at a pub, slightly less intimidating than the sheds, where the locals were a better behaved otherwise they get banned. After a long night in the pub I came home and my landlord and some other locals threatened my life and kicked me out of my room in the middle of the night after I asked them to clean up the blood in the kitchen. They were off their faces on pot and beer, a usual pastime for KI rednecks, and gave me 30 minutes to pack up all my belongings and leave or they'll make sure I disappeared. It was frightening, especially being a woman on my own without a vehicle to take refuge in. I ended up walking to Brownlow Beach CP around midnight with a 30kg pack on my back and lying close to someone's caravan for safety for the rest of the night until finding a new place to live the next day. I didn't even bother with the police, I'd been there long enough already to know they didn't work.
Thankfully, not all KI locals are rednecks and I was fortunate enough to meet lots of nice people in Brownlow.

Hope your next holiday will be event free : )

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AnswerID: 476226

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 18:52

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 18:52
Hi John

I am very sorry to hear of the trouble that you had at Vivonne Bay. From the contact that I have had with the locals over on the Island, I have found them to be some of the most friendlies people you could meet anywhere in Australia.

As with any town world wide, there will always be someone to give that town a bad name, and there is a very true old saying..."One bad apple can ruin a barrel of good apples"

Please do not think that all people over there are like that. I know that it should not be the case, but if ever in doubt, then stay in a Caravan Park.

You should make an official complaint so that those responsible be accountable for that un tolerated acts of fear to you and your family. Also make an official complaint to the agriculture company, not the local branch, but the national headquarters, as they would not tolerate that type of behaviour from their employees, and better still, name the company.

All the best and please do not think KI is an unsafe to visit, as this is very fare from the truth.


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AnswerID: 476228

Reply By: John G2 - Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 19:20

Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 at 19:20
Thanks for the suggestions.

We did place an official complaint with Police Complaints Authority (SA) as soon as we got to the mainland. The main reason we did this is so that whatever caused the police not to attend (probably resources) can be addressed (and rectified) so that it doesn't happen again (hopefully!). As an international tourist destination KI needs to address this issue - unless they want to market it as the wild west!

I would certainly agree that all the othe KI locals we had dealings with were fine and would definitely still encourage people to visit KI - it's an amazing place with heaps to do and see, seal colony, sea lion colony, lighthouses, limestone caves, snorkelling, surfing, horseriding, fishing and crayfish eating! - but they need to think a little bit about where they camp and when.

AnswerID: 476231

Reply By: anglepole - Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 at 10:39

Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 at 10:39

I would also have a word with the company whose logo appeared on the door of the vehicle. A letter to the head office will get some reply.

AnswerID: 476266

Reply By: dave b7 - Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 22:54

Monday, Jan 30, 2012 at 22:54
I was at the same campground for 3rd and 4th January.
We were moving on anyway, but the night before we left I was asked when we would be leaving, as our Kingscote local next door had a friend coming.
Also we only had half a campsite as one of the Kingscote locals truck took up half our spot - I felt like asking them to pay half our camping fee!
I never spoke to any of the locals really except for a nod from the guy next door and Cory's mum - Cory was the oldest of the kids there doing the swimming lessons and was quite friendly to us - he befriended my 10 yr old son and we went out one night to spot wallabies at the nearby 9 hole golf course.
I haven't done that much camping but sometimes the larger groups tend to rule certain campsites and while it's shameful to be intimidated and moved on, if you feel physically threatened it may be better to move on.
After Vivonne Bay we found some other great campsites - West Bay for one.
Took a drive up to Emu Bay one day as well, around the 8th January and the Council Campground was almost empty (2 caravans I think).
Vivonne Bay is such a great spot. If your story could encourage the Council/Tourist authority to enlarge the campground, or provide a separate area for the "Swimming Holiday Camp" locals that would be good.
AnswerID: 476426

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