Elcho Island is a beautiful little Ireland in the Arafura Sea off the coast of Arnham Land Northern Australia.550 kilometres east of Darwin.
The community's artists produce a wide range of traditional craft and fine artworks, utilising materials collected from surrounding bushland and beaches, continuing a tradition of many thousands of years.
The people have a wonderful culture, they love to sing and dance and even more they love to laugh.
When Methodist Missionary Harold Urquhart SHEPHERDSON and his Scottish born wife Isabella Gray nee GOVENLOCK arrived in 1942 three months after the Bombing of Darwin from neighbouring Milingimbi Island there was no community established.
Harold who had been born in Bunbury in Western Australia in 1903, the son of George Urquhart SHEPHERDSON born in Victoria in 1869 and met his wife, South Australian born, Elizabeth Louise 'Lizzie' Carle in Adelaide.
George and Lizzie married in Adelaide in 1896 and the pair travelled on to Western Australia where they had five children,
Allan garfield 1898,
Gwendolyn Ada 1900–1973,
*Harold Uquhart 1903,
Gillan Ross 1906–1983 and
Allister Carle 1912 – 1983.
Harold and his wife never had any children of their own. The islanders were their children.
I was just watching the original amateur video of The Chooky Dancers aboriginal teenagers from Elcho Ireland performing Zorba for their community, which made them world famous and having a laugh and reading the Reviews Which led me to have a look at how things are going on Elcho now.
I think the Shepherdson's would be very proud.
The photo below is Maratja Brown, aged 9, being painted by Gali Gurrwiwi with designs given by the Gälpu clan for his initiation at Galiwin'ku on Elcho Island, Arnhem Land, NT.
Photo: Yasunori Hayashi 2008.