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 The "Islander" historic vessel of Percy Island


Letter from a passing yachty..

One of our favourite spots on the coast is Middle Percy Island. We arrived this year and were somewhat disappointed at the general look of the place - a bit down at heel, we thought. The roof on the A-Frame is badly rusted and in need of repair. It would be a shame to lose all the memorabilia inside because of lack of maintenance.

We decided to walk over to the lagoon. After skirting fallen trees and washed out track, we were pulled up short by a big orange barrier across our path.

The attached sign read: WARNING (see below)

"Due to feral goat culling, back burning and restoration works to the homestead and tracks, all areas above beaches closed until further notice. Absolutely no access without consent via VHF Channel 10."

By order
Mick Cotter
Island Leaseholder.

At least there was no mention of bubonic plague!

Not at all friendly as we fondly remember MPI in the past. Great pity.

And so it goes...

The signs mentioned in the letter at left were posted around December we are told. When the law suits final days were approaching it appears fronts were abandon. Yachties? Piss off!!

TCP has been covering this major concern of the cruising community since the beginning of the controversy. Though there was always much question about how the transaction came about where a frail and infirm old man sold the island's lease for $10, the issue of reversing such a transaction seemed at first insurmountable. Possession being 9/10 of the law kind of problem. But then Andrew Martins family discovered the Queensland "Fair Trading" laws which contained items that seemed to address this issue perfectly. Now Mick Cotter had a serious problem. Though the process was stalled and delayed in the end it was becoming apparent it was going to go bad for the defence and it did. The judge was scathing in his decision. "Unconscionable conduct-undue influence".

Cathryn and John Morris, who won the suit, went to the island a few days ahead of the official turnover to supervise the action.

Just a couple days ahead of the judges deadline the water tanks were reported to be discovered draining. The Morris's say they found it in time to save some water but the loss is important. Without tank water life on the island would be very difficult, especially coming into the dry season.

Reports from passing yachties and the Morris's tell of a mess left at the homestead and other facilities and according to claims from the Morris's, anything of value taken but the rubbish left. The structures are reported in poor condition, holes in floors, broken windows, a general sense of abuse and abandonment.
On the 28th of July, Cotter was reported to have left with the barge, "Redline" in tow (loaded with a Range Rover) behind the trawler recently called, "Living it up". The barge and contents were towed to Stannage Bay by Thirsty Sound and the trawler returned to Percy Island for the Islander.

And now the work begins for the Morris's. They say the bee hives have been left in a bad state. As the melaleucas are starting to blossom the Morris's are working feverishly to put the hives to right before the hives swarm and the colony goes feral. Honey production is an important asset to the island. The processing equipment is also a problem. Cotter took the smaller "Honey Spinner" and the larger machine left is the property of "Hello Honey" owned by Peter and Lynette Zahra in the Pioneer valley, as it wasn't paid for by Cotter.

Meanwhile down at West Bay the clean up begins in earnest. Several yachts have stopped in and are helping and a candidate for a permanent resident seems to be in hand.

This message in from the new crew; "We have had a couple of working bees to clean up the thousands of coconuts and palm fronds under the coconut trees. Some of the boat crews involved were "Euphoria" Lance & Tricia, "Platinum" Ross & Diane, "Medusa" Peter & Rose, "Mim" Mike, Jane & Gary, "Auspicious" John & Win. We did not get the names of the others.
We have burnt approximately 2000 of the estimated 5000 coconuts in West Bay so will need more working bees to complete the project.
We are seeking a "used" new roof for the A-frame and new purlins. The sheets of iron are 9.1 metres long on both sides. The width of the roof is 10.8 metres on both sides. The purlins will need to be 10.8 metres long. The existing purlins are way too light and have sagged badly. We will have to leave the old purlins in place as may icons are attached to them. We may have to remove the front and rear verandahs as they are quite unsafe and may require too much work to repair. They can be reinstalled at a later date when a willing work team comes forward.
Arrangements to get crucial basic equipment to the island are well underway and we would like to especially thank Jeff Craig for supplying the vessel to get it all there. "

So… if you are cruising around the area and you have some time and energy to spare… there is a job for you…. It's your island too.