In the spotlight: Rosalind Hawkins
In the past 50 years, Moreton Island has changed from being an isolated haven for fishermen, to a popular family holiday spot and must-see destination for international visitors. Rosalind Hawkins from Moreton Island Adventures spoke with us about how the Island has transformed in her lifetime and the incredible legacy that her family has left.
Tell us a bit about the Hawkins family and its connection with Moreton Bay?
Forty-five years ago my parents purchased a block of land on Moreton Island. We had a speedboat and went over there for recreational purposes. We eventually built a house there with materials we had taken over on the speedboat and from there our transport business started. We were the only ones at the time offering transport out to the Island, so people would ask us to bring goods and materials over on our boat. We soon started a general store there and brought the goods over ourselves. Since then, the business has just grown.
What was it like when your family was first starting out on the Island?
My mum and dad started the business, so in the early days all we had was a small passenger ferry. Everyone on the Island relied on us for everything – whether it was bringing mail and family member over, to bringing food and supplies. A few times we had to rescue sailing boats and get people out of the water, and in the 1974 floods, we were responsible for getting people across from the Island back to the mainland, which was quite a task in a cyclone.
How has the Bay changed over the years? What are some of your experiences?
The Bay itself is ever changing and Moreton Island has gone from being quite a remote island that was basically filled with fisherman to a holiday destination for families, children and international visitors. It’s an international destination now. But what is great is that during that time it has become more accessible to families; it hasn’t lost any of its rawness or natural charm.
How has Moreton Island Adventures evolved with the Bay?
We started out from necessity as a transport business, but over the years have expanded into tourism. The first ferry we took over was 6.5 metres long and only held about 50 people, but today we have the MICAT, which in comparison is 59 metres long and can hold about 600 people and 52 vehicles. Tourism on the Island has boomed. We now offer daytrips, which is perfect for international travellers who might not have a lot of time. The MICAT makes it so much faster to get there as well, and it’s much nicer than the old barges we used to have. We’ve also recently started offering glamping, which has been incredibly popular.
When you were growing up, was it always the plan for you to follow in your parents’ footsteps?
I actually never thought I was going to work in the business but the fact is I couldn’t stay away from it. As a kid, I spent a lot of time on the Island with my family. I’d be there all weekend and come back to school in Brisbane on Monday morning with sand still in my hair.
It’s just a part of me. I’ve brought my kids up on the island and it’s still a place we go to on our holidays together now that they have grown up. I could never leave – it’s addictive!
What do you see as the future for Moreton Island Adventures and Moreton Island in general?
I think every area of our business could grow quite easily within the natural environment of Moreton Island. I just want to offer more people the chance to experience the Island. I think the opportunity to see this beautiful Island is a must for anyone visiting the area. Once upon a time that wasn’t possible, so it’s great that we can provide that to more people now.
Image courtesy Brisbane Marketing