Whitemark in 1955 (AOT, PH30/1/1211/7)

Whitemark, population 170, is the administrative centre of Flinders Island, largest of the Furneaux Group. It contains the Municipality of Flinders Council Chambers, the Multi-Purpose Centre, post office, library, sports club/golf course and shops. The original name, White Mark, came either from a white sand blow settlers used as a navigational aide, a whitish survey mark in a tree indicating a crossing between two lagoons, or a later white sandy track through the coastal scrub. Before a wharf was built in 1905, island trading boats unloaded cargo nearby. Whitemark became one word when a wireless station was built in 1913, as the price of messages was calculated per word. The first buildings were a house/store built by Harold Walker (1900); the school (1911); the Interstate Hotel (1912) and a courthouse (1913).

Further reading: J Davie, Latitude forty, Melbourne, 1980; J Edgecombe, Flinders Island and eastern Bass Strait, Sydney, 1986.

Kayleen Mort