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Stone ruin at Lizard Island

Lizard Island, Lizard Island

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Lizard Island stone ruins of Watsons hut (2013); EHP

Lizard Island stone ruins of Watsons hut (2013)

Lizard Island bay (2013); EHP

Lizard Island bay (2013)

Lizard Island stone ruins (2013); EHP

Lizard Island stone ruins (2013)

Lizard Island Watsons memorial signs (2013); EHP

Lizard Island Watsons memorial signs (2013)

Lizard Island was settled in 1860 by a group of Europeans, Chinese and South Sea Islanders who established processing operations for bêche-de-mer and sandalwood in a bay later named Watsons Bay. They arrived aboard the ‘Julia Percy’ on a mission funded by British entrepreneur Captain James Paddon. Most of the information from this enterprise has come from the naturalist aboard the ‘Julia Percy’, John MacGillivray, who wrote a series of articles for the Sydney Morning Herald. He referred to a stone building constructed as a store and manager’s residence, including a smoke house. The place was abandoned by October 1861. Captain Robert Watson and P C Fuller revived the industry in 1879. They either re-used or adapted the original stone building for their operations. Since the early 20th century, the building has been interpreted as the home of Robert and Mary Watson. Mary, their son and their Chinese employee Ah Sam, died after escaping the island following an attack by local Aborigines. Recent archaeological investigations suggest that it is unlikely that this building was ever their home and likely to be the remnants of the bêche-de-mer operations. Further damage to the ruins occurred during Cyclone Ita in April 2014.

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Coordinates: -14.66716112, 145.46069855

Full details of this heritage-registered place are in the Heritage register.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
28 February 2023