Oyster Harbour and the lower Kalgan River

Friday, Jul 04, 2014 at 22:22


Arriving at Emu Point, Albany for a morning aboard the Kalgan Queen, we first saw the statue of Sam the Seal at the marina, and learnt his story.

Sam the New Zealand Fur Seal, who over the years has trusted and befriended thousands of locals and tourists who visited him at Emu Point, was senselessly slaughtered by a coward who killed him in his sleep an act of ultimate betrayal in February 2006. Sam’s death was covered by national and international media and even drew comment from the Prime Minister.

A plaque on the memorial reads

Before the Kalgan Queen left the marina, Skipper Jack introduced us to the pelicans which approached the boat. A favourite is Percy, who dances. She does pirouettes by spinning around on the spot in the water. Percy then came on board and Jack gave her a fish, which she turned in her beak so it was facing head first for a smooth swallow.

On departure, Jack took the boat to the heads of this shallow harbour where a channel little more than 100 metres wide goes between Emu Point and the Gull Rock Nature Reserve.

Green Island is a small island in Oyster Harbour covering an area of two hectares.

This island is one of only four permanent Pelican breeding grounds in Western Australia; the others being Mandurah, Rockingham and Shark Bay.Green Island was declared a nature reserve in 1988.

Being rich in guano, Green Island selected as ideal to grow vegetables for the early Albany settlement. By 1830 a vegetable garden was under way, tended by a convict gardener who dwelt in a hut on the island.

Oyster Harbour

The shallow waters of Oyster Harbour are ideal for farming mussels and oysters with nutrients washed in by the Kalgan and King rivers. Mussells are successfully farmed in the harbour, settling on ropes strung between drums used at floats.

Skipper Jack told us the history of oyster farming in Oyster Harbour and at Emu Point. Due to viral infections, early attempts at oyster farming failed. After early failures, the Emu Point Oyster farm is now thriving, with a retail shop as well as building up significant export markets of Sydney Rock oysters, including to Asia and Dubai.

We travelled on a tidal section of the Kalgan River, which extends to a rock bar near the Upper Kalgan Bridge. Our turn around point was at Montgomery's Hill Wines with wine tasting and cellar sales.

On the return down the river, Jack served us mugs of tea and coffee together with hot damper, home made to the family’s special recipe which is available on the Kalgan Queen website.

The Ancient Kalgan River

This river is believed to be the oldest river in the World. First named by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1803 "The Riviere des Francais" was commonly referred to as The French River.

In 1831 Alexander Collie, the first Resident Magistrate of Albany, recorded the river as 'Kal-gan-up' in April 1831, and it was named The Kalgan River later that year.

Read more about Albany and our other Travelogues and come touring Australia with us.


Red desert dreaming

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