About Prom Country Scenic Flights

While it is well known for it's natural beauty, the area around Wilsons Promontory also has a fascinating history of shipwreck survivors, runaway convicts and secret military operations!

Our pilots

Our experienced pilots, will entertain you with some fascinating tales as well as explanations of the stunning formations that you will see along the way.

Our aircraft

The Cessna 182 has been a mainstay of the Cessna single-engine line since its introduction. Many consider it the best all-around general aviation aeroplane ever made.

Our Cessna 182 travels at an air speed of 120 knots and is the most comfortable way to see "The Prom", On board conversations are easy as all passengers are provided with headsets. Bring your camera - the high wing allows easy on board photography.

You're in safe hands.

Our aircraft are maintained to a very high standard and all of our pilots are highly experienced in remote location operations.

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How to find us

Prom Country Scenic Flights operates from our airstrip at 3680 Meeniyan - Promontory Road, Yanakie.

Driving directions

From Melbourne via Meeniyan
Heading south on the M1, take the M420 exit along the South Gippsland Hwy - (signs for Phillip Island/Leongatha).
Exit onto South Gippsland Hwy/A440 towards Korumburra/Leongatha
Turn right onto Meeniyan-Promontory Rd/C444 and follow the signs to Wilsons Promontory.
Prom Country Scenic Flights is located on your right 1.4km west of Yanakie township.

From Tidal River
From the Mt Oberon turnoff, head 35 kms east along the Meeniyan-Promontory Rd.
Prom Country Scenic Flights is on the left hand side of the road.

Find out more...

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Please send an enquiry via the form on our Contacts page.

 

History of Wilsons Promontory

The Natural Background

The landmass of the Prom developed deep below the surface, when molten material slowly crystallised to form granite rock. In time, the softer rocks wore away, leaving great mountains of granite.
When ice ages gripped the Earth and the oceans subsided, a range of these mountains stretched across low-lying plains between present-day Victoria and Tasmania. Then, from around 15,000 years ago, the climate warmed and sea levels rose, finally cutting the land link. The area became an island, later to be rejoined to the mainland by the sandy Yanakie isthmus.

Because of its links with both the mainland and Tasmania, the Prom's extensive coastline, mountains, plains and other habitats, (including caves of tumbled granite boulders beneath the sea) support a significant and spectacular diversity of plants and animals.
Wilsons Promontory is home to more than 700 native plant species, 30 kinds of mammals - from tiny antechinuses to kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, seals and bats - and approximately 180 species of birds. Reptiles, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates are also numerous and diverse.

Aboriginal people visited this area over thousands of years. Evidence of their presence remains in the extensive middens (shell deposits) behind many of the beaches and in stories like those of Loo-Errn and Tiddalik. Some of their descendants still live in Gippsland and are working to recover and share more of their people's heritage.

European Discovery 1797

Wilson's Promontory was discovered and named by George Bass during his epic journey by whaling boat from Sydney (Port Jackson) in 1797.
Bass named it Furneaux's land but this name was not retained and was changed by Governor Hunter to Wilson's Promontory, so named after Thomas Wilson, a London Merchant who was trading with Australia and was also a friend of Bass and Matthew Flinders.

Although shipping had been using Tasmania and Sydney for a number of years it had not been confirmed if Tasmania (Van Diemens Land) was actually connected or joined to mainland Australia.

Bass returned to Sydney in 1798 and sailed later that year with Matthew Flinders to chart the coast of Van Diemens Land and prove the existence of Bass Strait.
Bass Strait reduced the sailing time between Sydney and England considerably.

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Download the Park Notes for further information on The Prom.

Reservation as a National Park

The naturalist and explorer, Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, made two trips to the Promontory, one in 1853 and the second in 1874, which resulted in a large collection of plant specimens, now preserved in the National Herbarium. But apart from these activities and visits Wilson's Promontory remained known to relatively few, and retained its rugged wild beauty.

In 1884, 10 years after von Mueller's second visit, three members of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (early conservationists), J B Gregory, A H S Lucas and G W Robinson, spent their Christmas holidays walking and collecting on the Promontory. They returned to Melbourne with the idea that the region should be reserved as a national park. Timber-cutting, cattle-grazing, mining, sealing and a proposed subdivision in 1887, were all disputed by the naturalists and for over twenty years they fought for the preservation of Wilson's Promontory as a National park.

Finally, in July 1898, 500 acres was temporarily reserved for "public purposes", and in November 1898 most of what remained was declared a Fauna sanctuary.
After a prolonged battle 75,000 acres were declared a national park in March 1905, with the exclusion of a half mile strip around the whole coastline, this strip was eventually included in 1908.

In 1969 part of the Yanakie Isthmus was added to Wilson's Promontory increasing its size to 120,875 acres.

The first ranger was appointed in 1909 and the Promontory has remained in the care of subsequent rangers since that time.

In 1941, the Promontory was closed to the public when the Australian Army commandeered it for military purposes to train the first commando's, one camp was established at Darby river and the other at Tidal river, the Army was responsible for putting the road in to Wilson's Promontory and at the end of the war the buildings at Tidal river were handed over to the rangers, these were the first administration buildings and this site is still the main settlement on the Promontory today.

A lighthouse was built in 1859 after a series of ships were wrecked on the rocky coastline off Wilson's Promontory, (including the German luxury passenger ship Schornberg on her maiden voyage in 1853). The lighthouse utilised convict labour and local granite from the south east cape of Wilson's Promontory and featured a new type of multiple kerosene light reflective lamp which could be seen 25 nautical miles out to sea.

Early Uses and Exploration 1840's

Sealing was a major industry in many parts of Australia.
Sealers Cove was the base for a large industry on and around the Prom which had disastrous effects on the fur seal population in the southern waters.

Timber cutting was also carried out in this part of the Prom, the most popular being local ash which was used extensively by Coopers for staves in barrels. The timber was felled on the slopes and transported to the beach by flying-fox or from more distant gullies by wooden-railed tramways. Very little evidence of these activities remains to be seen.

Tin mining also began around this time and was centred around the Mount Hunter area near Singapore Peninsula (named after a barque that ran aground there).

Due to this activity a town site named Seaforth was surveyed near Mount Singapore but was never fully developed. An early settlers hut was later removed and rebuilt at Port Welshpool and is still standing and in use as a restaurant - named obviously "SEAFORTH".

After a lot of clearing had been performed by the tree fellers then grazing was sure to follow, and in 1852 the Turnbull brothers of Port Albert secured the leases at Sealers Cove and the Mount Hunter run.

Robert Turnbull held a monopoly of trade, shipping and provisioning at Port Albert, owning the local store, cattle yards and jetty and later brought a steamer to travel back and forth to Melbourne, carrying freight at low cost, also a steam launch so that cattleboats could be towed in and out quickly. Although very entrepreneurial for his day, Turnbull was hated by locals as a profiteer. They made several petitions to Melbourne to have a port opened at Welshpool and in 1857 Turnbull sold the acre of land to the government for a new wharf (he was paid 1,200 pounds. He had paid 1 pound for it!

John Baragwanath was an early Cornishman Settler who purchased the Sealers Cove run in 1865 but was defeated by coastal disease and forfeited the run in 1867. The Baragwanaths became settlers on 80 acres near Agnes River. Here John Baragwanath built workshops and made beautiful furniture, he also had an ambition to invent colour photography (but did not succeed) and to this end made and ground his own lenses for many applications, both for his photographic uses and also survey equipment. He also acted as legal adviser, veterinarian, surveyor and naturalist and especially as a dentist for the district. Although he had no qualifications and his anaesthetic was brandy, his skill was highly regarded.

Many photographs taken by John Baragwanath can be seen at the Foster Museum and are also depicted in the book by Barry Collett - "Wednesdays Closest to the Full Moon" a History of South Gippsland (Melbourne University Press).

References:

Wednesdays Closest to the Full Moon - Barry Collett (1994)
Wilsons Promontory National Park - John and Sue Brownlie (1971)
How They Kept in Touch - Norman Sparkes (1997)

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