Broughton Islanders

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 3.52.03 pm.jpg
Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 3.52.03 pm.jpg

Broughton Islanders


"Broughton Islanders" is the result of years of research and interviews and features a collection of old photographs that are hard to believe. The book, set between 1860 - 1960, is based around the early fishing and lobster industry, focusing particularly on those hardy souls who chose to settle on Broughton Island for varying periods of time. The main island is approximately 3 km long and 2 km across and is situated 14 km north of the entrance to Port Stephens. The outpost served as a base from which fishermen targeted lobsters, snapper, leatherjacket, flathead and anything else that they could catch.

The story which tells of Russian spies, hidden treasure, huge snapper, great white sharks and blue chooks also relates the involvement and occupancy of the Chinese, Italians, Greeks and the rough and tumble "Aussies". "Broughton Islanders" is a near forgotten part of Australian history. A story that needed to be told.



The author is well known fishing media presenter John Clarke, or "Stinker" to his many readers and listeners. John, a life time recreational fisherman, originally from Tweed Heads, has been a resident of the Nelson Bay area since 1975 when he was appointed to teach at the local High School. This is John's second book following the very successful "Somethin' Fishy" first printed in 1999. Since 1985 John has written a weekly fishing column in the local Port Stephens - Examiner newspaper, is a regular contributor to fishing magazines and has worked extensively on radio and television.

In John's words - "I first visited Broughton Island in October 1980 as part of a rough crew hastily gathered together by local charter boat skipper, the late Col Jenkins. Col captained the "Waranah", an old wooden tub that he ran out of Port Stephens to the local reefs chasing snapper, mulloway, kingfish and teraglin. Col was a reflection of his boat, unhurried, rugged and reliable.

"I had waited for this day for years, since early 1975 to be exact, when, as the new school teacher in town, I had heard of the tiny community on the most northerly island and always held a desire to visit. The fishing I was told was spectacular. Islands hold some mystical attraction to me and Broughton even more so. Maybe it's the Robinson Crusoe in all of us. To this day I can recall the strangest of sensations as I stepped ashore, it was as if I was stepping back in time, eerie really. There was something very special about this place, you could sense it, maybe even smell it. History hung in the air. My eyes strained through a weird silence, the hairs on the back of my neck were bristling. I was being watched but could not see anyone. The body of a rabbit with bulging eyes, rolling in the shore break, snapped me back"

"Broughton Island has always been a fascination to me, particularly the stories that are told and the sensational fishing on offer. I feared that if I didn't document the island's history all would be lost over time."

 "Broughton Islanders" was launched by long time islander and former Nelson Bay medical practitioner Dr. Gerry Sertori on Tuesday 10th November. If you have a keen interest in Broughton Island, fishing or Australian history this book is a must read. written by John Stinker Clarke

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