October 26, 2001, Newsletter Issue #53: The Wonders of Wilsons Promontory

Tip of the Week

Wilson`s Promontory National Park - Just three hours from Melbourne, is the 50,000 hectare Wilson`s Promontory National Park; one of the finest national parks in the country.

Wilson`s Promontory - which juts out into Bass Strait - constitutes the southernmost point of the Australian mainland. It was described by explorer George Bass as the "cornerstone of this continent called `New Holland`" after he saw the Prom in the first days of 1798.
Bass named the area, "Furneauxīs Land," but it was later renamed in honour of a prominent London businessman, Thomas Wilson. It is believed Wilson`s Promontory was once part of a "land bridge" connecting the mainland with Tasmania. In another age, the Prom is thought to have been an island. The gradual build-up of a 20-kilometre stretch of sand dunes, known as the Yanakie Isthmus, is said to have reconnected the Prom with the mainland.

The Aborigines, who once lived here, were members of the Boon-Oor-Rong tribe and their middens are still evident on the western side of the promontory. Long before Bassīs official visit, the area was frequented by sealers and whalers. Whale bones can still be seen in the waters of Sealers and Refuge Coves on the eastern side.

In many respects, it is still much the same as it was at the time of Bassīs first visit. It is comprised of imposing granite mountains, sweeping plains, thick forests and some of the finest beaches in the country. These range from sheltered little coves to long surf beaches.

The Prom is the ideal place for bushwalking and a full appreciation of the magnificent array of native wildlife Australia has to offer. The friendliest are the parrots which flock around anyone offering food at Tidal River.
Tidal River is the "capital" of the Prom. It is made up of an information centre, museum, caravan and camping grounds with some cabins. Here, you will find a cairn which acknowledges the use of the Prom as a commando training camp during World War II.

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