Breaksea Island Nature Reserve near Albany, which was the last link to Australia for the first Gallipoli-bound soldiers in 1914, will soon become more accessible with public helicopter tours starting as early as next month.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said Skyhook Helicopters has been licensed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife to meet increased demand for cultural, adventure and eco-tourism experiences on the south coast.
“Breaksea Island is recognised as a place of cultural heritage significance that boasts a fascinating history. Until now, viewing of its impressive wildlife and rugged coastline has been limited because it is difficult to access safely by boat,” Mr Jacob said.
“Helicopter tours will allow visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the area before landing on the island for greater appreciation and access to the heritage-listed lighthouse and keepers’ cottages.”
Over the past 10 years, the State and Australian governments have invested more than $1.5 million in repairing, restoring and maintaining the assets on the Class A nature reserve.
At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the lighthouse on the island was the last communication point with Australia for troops departing from Albany. The Breaksea Island ‘lighthouse girl’ Fay Howe signalled to the departing fleet in morse code, becoming the last human contact many of the young soldiers had with Australia.
The story of the Gallipoli-bound troops and Fay Howe are part of the inspiration for the Perth International Arts Festival street parade The Giants to be held from February 13-15, 2015.