How it started
The Island lies between the two headlands of Port Lincoln and Cape Donnington. These two headlands enclose the world’s second largest natural harbour. Boston Island perfectly forms a natural breakwater, protecting the town from strong northerly winds.
Boston Island is named after Point Boston where Captain Matthew Flinders learned to tie knots, read a compass and row a boat; paving his future to becoming an explorer.
The first European recorded that Captain Matthew Flinders and his crew on the 28th February 1802 were the first to step foot on Boston Island. Flinders was in pursuit of freshwater but was unsuccessful. There was no water to be found, but he did record in his logbook that a fire he lit to alert his ship totally burnt out the island over three days.
With the arrival of Arch Deacon Hale in August 1850, things began to change. His instructions were to start an Anglican Mission Settlement for First Nation Australians. Arch Deacon arrived on the island in the middle of winter, with their small group of just 13 people. However, the island’s confined space was 'unsuited to the natives' way of life' Availability of water was also likely to have been a factor. So, the mission was moved to Poonindie on the mainland.
In 1954, Boston Island was purchased by H. P. Davis of Hamilton Downs Station, Alice Springs for the price of £49,200. It was sold at an auction in Port Lincoln before an audience of 400 locals. At the time the island featured a five-roomed furnished weatherboard cottage, ten sheep-proof paddocks, five wells with windmills, four 5,000-gallon galvanized iron tanks and a large stone tank and it had a typical ‘Outhouse” about 15 yards from the homestead.
The general feeling of the people who watched the auction in the Port Lincoln Civic Hall was of excitement and speculation.