Six miles off the wild, southwest coast of Tasmania, in a remote region of world heritage wilderness, stands Australia’s most southerly lighthouse on a magnificent island called Maatsuyker. Maatsuyker Island is known for extreme weather and gale force winds over 100 days of the year. The island is a safe haven for dozens of protected marine species and over 1 million birds. The Maatsuyker Lightstation was constructed in 1891 and includes three lightkeepers cottages, numerous outbuildings, and a glowing, white lighthouse, one of the only functioning mechanisms of its kind.
The conservation and preservation of this World Heritage Site is built upon a partnership between Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and community volunteer group, Friends of Maatsuyker Island: Wildcare. Together, these two organizations work towards the common goal of preserving and protecting the natural, historical and cultural values of the island. An initiative which involves restoration projects, extensive weed mapping and control, wildlife monitoring, and biosecurity management.
Following the lightkeeper era, a volunteer caretaker program was established to continue the day-to-day care and protection of the island’s historical buildings and diverse flora and fauna. Taylor and Jesse are the current caretakers, and they are nearing the end of their six month adventure living a life of solitude and hard work among some of nature’s most astounding marvels.
Excerpt from their blog, “Time Moves”:
…But then, what came next, a game changer out of left field! The winds turned, the tides changed, and my path veered abruptly left of center — HERE.
Here, where our every day grind is local Tasmanian coffee, best enjoyed in between weather observations.
Eyes ever set on the sea and sky — searching only for rare cloud types, a wandering whale, and more of ourselves.
Here, where the 9 to 5 comes to die. The clock’s existence no more and no less than a simple, rhythmic, tick tock in our kitchen.
Here, where our greatest battle is against two small, cunning, green birds that insist on making a home out of our attic!
Here, where we work with our hands and Earth’s elements, in the mud, in the dirt, against the wind, and the sea and the wet.
This place where concern about success is solely wrapped up in veggie garden production.
And LOVE is FREE to GROW and EVOLVE.
This island is a miracle. A snow globe you hold upside down and watch longingly and affectionately, as its mysterious iridescence trickles and drifts before your eyes.
A taste of a life lived long ago — one foot in this decade, one foot in another.
A simple life. Where “connection” means with the land itself.
We are changed now. We may have had these “selves” in us all along, but here, they have been exposed. Peeled back. They stand naked now before our eyes. Impossible to ignore. The new life we crave and strive for.
The life of the caretaker. The Keeper. The watcher. The one happy to exist in an existence they do not rule.
A wild existence, where they are but observers of something more raw and real than themselves.
A reality lost on tramways, and pavement, remote controls, and siri.
Maatsuyker Island is our greatest lesson. The question now is, what will we do with it?