Hamilton island is one of 90 islands that are collectively known as the Whitsundays, famous for turquoise sea and the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef.
The islands were originally home to the Ngaro Indigenous people who are also know as the 'Canoe People.'
Aboriginal history is thought to extend back 8000 years before European settlement. A stone quarry exists on nearby South Molle that Ngaro people used to produce a knife called Juan. It is though that Ngaro people would trade Juan, as well as dugong or turtle meat for glass and nails with passing ships. Their sea-faring expertise is evidenced by the extensive distance along the Australian east coast that trade would occur, and it's presumed they used both canoes built from bark and outriggers.
The Ngaro people were forcibly removed in the late 1800s by European settlers who used the islands for Hoop pine tree cultivation and eventually tourism.
The jewel of the Whitsundays is my home away from home off the east coast of Australia. The island is primarily tourism with a small population of local retirees, some families and hospitality staff.
The general practice sees the full range of medical conditions from chronic disease, to acute illness and injury. Queensland health supports the clinic and retrieval is to the mainland centre of Mackay Base Hospital.
The clinic is a marvel of modern amenities. They have tele-link through TEMSU so that a resuscitation can be video-linked to Mackay emergency department. Retrieval is via helicopter or fixed wing planes and I still get a huge kick out of running under a helicopter propeller. I'm often in awe of how far medicine has come, at least for those who are lucky enough to live in serviced areas.
The Whitsundays islands are breathtaking, particularly at sunset when the eerie call of the bush-stone curlews echoes through the palms and gumtrees. It's very easy to stay healthy here by running up Passage Peak in the morning, doing yoga on the Bommie deck as the whales swim by, mountain bike riding through the forest and swimming through the Great Barrier Reef. And it's also easy to forget what loneliness is when land is 5 square kilometres, the reef is a dreamscape and birds are up in your business all the time.