Muttonbird Beach and Shelter Island (aka Muttonbird Island)

Muttonbird BeachMuttonbird Beach is located approximately 17km west of the Albany suburb of Little Grove on the lower Denmark Road and is popular for fishing with 4WD access. Shelter Island is 20km due west of Albany and is often mistakenly referred to as Muttonbird Island. The island is approximately 130m from Muttonbird Beach separated by a channel with an average depth of 8m and is regarded as a suitable open-water dive site.

The island is mainly granite but has enough soil for plant growth and is well vegetated on top. It covers an area of 10ha and supports breeding populations of flesh-footed shearwaters and little penguins. It was declared a Class 1A nature reserve in 1973.

These reports published in the Albany Advertiser shine an interesting light on life in the area in-between the two World Wars.

Elleker Notes  -  Albany Advertiser June 27, 1929.
Owing to the rapid rise of the water, settlers were compelled to open the sand bar at Torbay Inlet on the 22nd inst. The water level at the lakes is now 2ft. The recent heavy rains have made the country too soft to permit of road work being carried out, and the road board grader has been taken off the roads in the vicinity of Elleker. The one-mile-and-a-half of new road, from the 16 mileage on the Albany-Denmark main road is likely to prove a difficult undertaking. Owing to the heavy rains having turned the whole place into one huge bog, it is impossible for motor trucks to operate. The contractor, Don Paterson has been obliged to purchase several miles of light tram way rails and these will be laid from the ballast pit to the head of the road, a distance of over one mile. Side delivers-hoppers and an oil-driven locomotive will be utilised to haul the ballast from the pit to the road.

Mrs Marshall of Torbay has recovered sufficiently from her illness to permit of her removal to Mount Barker, where she will remain for some time with Mrs Goundrey. Anglers on the coast are not obtaining good catches, but fishermen in the bay are having good, hauls and at the same time experiencing much trouble from the sharks and stingrays. Last week, whilst hauling a huge groper into the boat, a shark attacked and, despite the use of lancers and scars, it could not be driven away until it had bitten off half of the groper.

On Sunday, 23rd inst, whilst attempting to launch a boat in the breakers at Mutton Bird Island, W. North observed a huge shark within a few feet of him. Fortunately he was able to despatch it with a bullet from his rifle, and when the shark was hauled ashore and measured, it was found to be 10ft in length and of the blue-nosed variety. Dingoes are plentiful and troublesome in the district. Last week W. Farr, of Torbay, secured the scalp of one and wounded another, which got away. On Sunday the 23rd, W. North had the satisfaction of trapping a dingo on his property at Elleker.

Elleker Notes  -  Albany Advertiser June 30, 1930
Exceptionally fine weather has prevailed during the past week, the only rainfall recorded being on Sunday, the 22nd. Grasses and clovers are making splendid growth, and there is an abundance of feed everywhere. There is a good local demand for cows in full profit and old sorts are eagerly sort for the purpose of fattening, settlers being anxious to obtain the benefit of the abundance of feed on their holdings.Dingoes have again visited the Grassmere area and killed several sheep. A trapper from the Torbay district spent the week at Grassmere, but was not successful in catching the dog.

Settlers at Marbelup made application to the Railway Department for an improved road to the siding, and on the 7th inst, surveyors from Narrogin were engaged in estimating the cost of the work. A new company has started fishing operations at Mutton Bird Island, and during the past week several good hauls of fish were obtained, and disposed of in Mt. Barker and Albany.

Mr E. Jackson, of the Railway Department, has been notified of his promotion to ganger at Kordabup and will leave for that centre on the 26th inst. Mrs J. M. Brighton left by Sunday night's train for Perth. The Public Works Department have a number of men employed at repairing the flood gates at Torbay Inlet. Anglers report poor catches along the coast during the weekend. The water level of the Lakes is down to the 2ft. mark, the sand bar at Torbay Inlet being open.

Most of the main roads in the district are now in fair order, and fit for motor traffic, but many of the feeder roads are impassable for this class of vehicle. Good supplies of cabbage and swedes were dispatched to market from along the Denmark line during the past week. Potatoes are not finding a ready sale at the price required, and there is still a large quantity on hand at the farms in the district. Mr George Cálmanos is having extensive alterations and renovations made to his house at Elleker.