Monday, June 26, 2017


Fleeing  the  winter cold , shivering Melburnians  have long  been  coming to Magnetic Island , North  Queensland , to thaw out , swim , enjoy the  relaxed lifestyle , even  the  wildlife.   A considerable number  bought  holiday homes on  the  island .

Now  Tigerair  has introduced cheap  direct flights  from Melbourne to Townsville , from whence the  vehicle and passenger  ferries  to  the  island run,  that "Mexican " influence from across the border  on  the   north  can  be  expected  to  grow.

An indication of  the  already  recent increase in  interest in  the  island  by  Victorians  in particular is the fact that  a popular eatery at  Horseshoe  Bay -Café Nourish - run by  the same owners  for  about a decade,  has  just been taken over  by  a  Melbourne  family .
 And  on Thursday  this  week a real shot in the arm for the island -Scallywags Café-a bit  like a  floating three ring  Wirth's Circus with  a crew of extras   from  the  Pirates of the Caribbean will  lower   its gangplanks  for  the  public to come aboard .

One of the key players  in the café,  a  showman  who works  shows and festivals all over  Australia, rolled into the island in an unusual van  from Melbourne last  year  and  instantly declared  it  paradise. He  has  had  a long association with Darwin  through the  Fire  Circus  at  the  Mindil  Beach  Markets .
An empty house, long on the market   at Nelly Bay , not far from the marina ,  was  rapidly renovated , fenced ;  soon   performers  from there were  staging   fire  displays and other entertainment at the Arcadia  Hotel.  Classes were also  held  for  local children  to teach  them a  variety of  performing  acts .  

Absent from the island on the  show circuit, the  expanded troupe lobbed back  with two decorated  vans   and began turning the premises into  the café, the  front  fence  in  the   shape  of  what  has been  taken  to  represent a  pirate  ship  .You can have  you photo taken as a  pirate  in  a   painted  silhouette .

When a  Little  Darwin  team, including the S(h)ipping Reporter, visited the  café , it was a  scene of   great  activity  in  preparation  for  the Thursday  opening .  
One of the multi-skilled workers , looking like  a sweaty pirate , a bandanna on his skull , jumped ship , abandoned  his  wheelbarrow and  posed  for visiting Territory photographer, Sara , by   balancing  a  shovel  on  his nose-how many waiters  in  North Australia  can   match  this  impressive  act  ?  It is a  stunt  not recommended for Townsville council workers  and  children  on school holidays .   The  café opening promises  to  be  bigger than  Ben Hur.