Museum of Brisbane

In the spotlight: Daley Donnelly

IMG_8038 Dale Donnelly, Peel Island 2014

Daley Donnelly works as a Ranger for the Heritage Unit of Moreton Bay region and is one of the facilitators of our Peel Island Heritage Tours. He tells us a bit about his work and connection with Peel Island.

Museum of Brisbane: Tell us about what you do for a living.

Daley Donnelly: I’m a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Ranger, working in the Heritage Unit of the Moreton Bay Region. This means I get to help conserve and interpret historical sites. Quite often I get to dress in uniforms or clothes from past eras and take people back in time, in order to give an insight into the function of these now deserted sites. That’s really interesting but so is meeting people who have a direct connection with Fort Lytton, St Helena or Peel Island.

MoB: How many times have you visited Peel Island?

DD: Unfortunately, I don’t get to visit Peel Island half as much as I would like; so in ten years I think it’s only about 50 times – but one of those was for almost two weeks living on the island!

MoB: What do you feel is the most memorable feature of current day Peel Island?

DD: The most memorable feature of Peel Island today is Horseshoe Bay: the sweeping curve of white sand and the rugged red rocks at either end. Seen from the water or, most spectacularly, from the air, it identifies the island with its own unique signature.

MoB: Peel Island has a varied history. What do you find most interesting?

DD: Working in heritage interpretation, I find the lazaret the most interesting reminder of the islands history. Spanning the first half of the twentieth century its dark and disturbing beginnings transformed as the years moved on and ended in enlightenment and progress. It was a place of fear and misery but also one of hope and achievement. As a story, it has something for everyone.

MoB: What do you feel visitors will get out of this unique experience to travel to Peel Island?

Any one visiting Peel Island for the first time will have the unique experience of feeling that they have literally stepped back in time.

daley3 Lazaret and Dale Donnelly, Peel Island 2014
Horseshoe Bay Horseshoe Bay, Peel Island 2014