REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Can you name our three biggest islands?

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by journalist Stan Gorton from The Islander in South Australia.

Life, on Australia's third-largest island. Photo: Shutterstock

Life, on Australia's third-largest island. Photo: Shutterstock

Greetings from Australia's third largest island - Kangaroo Island, in South Australia. Home to the world's best gin, the world's cutest mouse (we reckon) and hopefully soon home to fresh lamb chops.

More in a minute on those two bigger islands - the largest of which we suspect you know already.

But first, yes, we're pleased to report that Kangaroo Island now has the best gin in the world - well, at least according to the judges at International Wine & Spirit Competition in London.

INSPIRED BY KI: Jon and Sarah Lark have made a gin that reflects the Kangaroo Island landscape.

INSPIRED BY KI: Jon and Sarah Lark have made a gin that reflects the Kangaroo Island landscape.

Australia's oldest and highest awarded gin distillery is KI Spirits - or KIS for short - and they were three years ahead of the first craft gin distillery in London. Their gins, vodkas and liqueurs have racked up more than 120 awards since the distillery opened.

Their success is a source of pride for Islanders, as are the local agricultural and seafood products that KI is famous for. And yet there hasn't been anywhere on the island to process meat.

But one day soon mainlanders and Islanders might be tucking into more KI lamb chops thanks to a renewed push to open a meat processing facility.

The Kangaroo Island dunnart, a tiny carnivorous marsupial, has rarely been seen in
the last 20 years. Photo Jody Gates

The Kangaroo Island dunnart, a tiny carnivorous marsupial, has rarely been seen in the last 20 years. Photo Jody Gates

Development is always a hot topic on Kangaroo Island and recently it's been a case of the mouse that was and then the mouse that wasn't.

Conservationists opposed to private development of lodges in the wilderness on the western end of the island pointed out in a letter to the editor last week that a rare marsupial mouse, known as the KI dunnart, had been found crossing a track leading to one of the proposed lodge sites.

The SA environment department and the proponents of development, the Australian Walking Company, came out this week acknowledging the dunnart's presence nearby. But they said it made no difference to the development proposal.

It is interesting that the AWC, headed by Geoff Dixon and Brett Godfrey of airline fame, are so committed to making the project happen in the face of local and wider opposition.

Godrey, meanwhile, has his hands full in Tasmania, where he heads up the push to secure an AFL side for what is actually Australia's biggest island. Did you guess where the second biggest island is yet? Not many know. Keep reading.

I am happy to report that we do indeed still have a little bit of press freedom on KI - site of that now-infamous shack tied to the Paladin Group, which controversially secured a $423 million, un-tendered contract to run security on Manus Island.

LIVE BROADCAST: The Islander work station set up at the Kangaroo Island Council this week, recording the meeting for live streaming on our Facebook page.

LIVE BROADCAST: The Islander work station set up at the Kangaroo Island Council this week, recording the meeting for live streaming on our Facebook page.

This week was the Kangaroo Island Council's monthly meeting and as usual The Islander was granted permission by the mayor to live stream the meeting on our Facebook page.

While there have been calls for the council to undertake its own filming and live broadcast of its meetings, the mayor is keen for The Islander to fulfill that function for now. This is because the council is fairly cash strapped, with a tiny ratepayer base of 4500 people.

PS: the second biggest island in Australia is Melville Island in the Northern Territory.

Stan Gorton

Journalist, The Islander

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