Raymond Island

Raymond Island (Gunai/Kurnai language: Bunjil-baul)[2] is a small island in the Gippsland Lakes in eastern Victoria, Australia, about 300 km (190 mi) from Melbourne. The island is approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) long by 2 km (1.2 mi) wide, and is just 200 m (660 ft) off the coast, across from the town of Paynesville. The island is named after William Odell Raymond,[3] originally a magistrate from New South Wales who established himself as a squatter in Gippsland in the 1840s.[4]

Raymond Island
Raymond Island
Coordinates37°55′0″S 147°44′0″E
Population479 (2006 census)[1]
Established1884 (Township)
LGA(s)Shire of East Gippsland
State electorate(s)Gippsland East
Federal Division(s)Gippsland

Raymond Island is well-known locally for its large koala population, originally introduced to the island in 1953,[5] and for the Raymond Island Ferry, a chain ferry that links the island to Paynesville on the mainland.

Raymond Island Ferry

The Raymond Island Ferry provides the only link between the island and the mainland, but also acts as an effective barrier to faster development of the island community. A ferry has run between Paynesville and Raymond Island since 1889,[6] and has been an integral and sometimes controversial feature of life on Raymond Island. Some continue to call for the ferry to be replaced by a bridge; others believe the ferry is an integral part of life on the island. In 2011, the East Gippsland Shire Council is conducting another review of "Raymond Island Access",[7] based on an action to "Develop a plan to resolve access to Raymond Island" in the Council Plan 2009-2013.[8] This follows earlier considerations which reached a decision to maintain the existing ferry service (e.g., in 2003 [9]). Before the current ferry, which runs on two chains, was commissioned in 1997, the topic was the subject of an academic paper in the Rural Society Journal which examined "the controversy over the proposal to link Raymond Island, Victoria to the mainland through construction of a bridge, to replace the current ferry service".[10] Ultimately, the issue has been discussed for decades without being permanently resolved, and opinions remain divided about the relative merits of ferry versus bridge.

Raymond Island Institutions

The Raymond Island Community Association (RICA) hosts regular meetings for residents and rate-payers, and has roots that go back to 1949. RICA was formed in 2003 as an amalgamation of the Raymond Island Advancement League (RIAL) which was started in 1949, and Raymond Island Protection (RIP) which was formed in 1988.[11]

The Raymond Island Landcare Group formed in 1994 and reportedly covers 759 hectares.[12] Its stated mission is to "protect and enhance the natural environment of Raymond Island by maintaining and protecting the natural attractions of the Island and development of low impact tourism infrastructure in harmony with maintaining the Island's character".[12]

At one stage, thanks to the work of Reg Medling and Gordon Winch, Raymond Island had its own Bowling Green: Medwin Bowling Club. With the help of volunteers, a two rink Green was created on a vacant block of land, owned by Gordon and Beryl Winch, at 7-15 Eighth Avenue, just down from First Parade.[13] The Green officially opened on 15 February 1987.

Raymond Island briefly had a Post Office from 3 April 1967 until 11 April 1968.[14] The post office was run by Mrs. Annette Anderson, who operated it from a small hut at the back of her home. The post office closed when Mrs. Anderson tendered her resignation upon moving away from the island.[15]

More long-lived was the Raymond Island primary school (number 3384), which opened to students on 14 February 1902. The site of the school is on the corner of Gravelly Point Road and Centre Road, marked by a commemorative plaque. The first Head Teacher was Miss Jennifer Thompson.[16] At one stage, student enrolments reached 41, but by 1912, enrolments had fallen to the point that the school closed down on 31 August. However just 18 months later, on 27 January 1914, the school reopened with an influx of new students.[17] Only 28 new enrolments were recorded between 1914 and 1934, leading the school to close for the final time in December 1934.[18] After closing, the old school building was removed to Devon Road, Paynesville, where it became a private home.

In 1897, Fred Barton (snr) held the first Presbyterian church service on Raymond Island, in a private home. Barton applied to the Lands Department for a church site soon after, and obtained three acres on the corner of Gravelly Point Road and Centre Road, opposite what would become the school site. A bark hut was built on the site, and services were held there until the church and Sunday School were removed to the newly built school in 1902.[19]


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Raymond Island (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  2. Wurruk: by Vaughan Nikitin, ChaosFilter.com Online Publishing, A Story Written in an Aboriginal Ganai - Kurnai - Language - Mountain Cattlemen - Victoria - Gippsland - Aboriginal History, Myth, Legend Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Raymond Island: Past, Present, Future by Midge Beesley, 1986, ISBN 1-86252-649-4, page 22
  4. An historical treatise on the Raymond family of County Kerry and Hollywood House near Adare, County Limerick, in Ireland, later of New South Wales and Victoria by M.A. Watson
  5. Letter from the Office of the Director of Fisheries and Game, 23 September 1953
  6. Plaque from Raymond Island Advancement League, 1989, on current Raymond Island Ferry
  7. Review of Raymond Island Access - Community Engagement Plan, East Gippsland Shire Council
  8. "East Gippsland Shire Council Plan 2009-2013, Version 3. Updated for 2011/12, Accessed 24 June 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  9. Council considers island bridge option, ABC News Online Mon 24 Nov 2003
  10. A bridge too far? : Community power structures on Victoria's Raymond Island Kay Gravell, Rural Society Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, 1994
  11. RICA Homepage Archived 22 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. "Raymond Island Landcare". Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  13. Medwin Bowling Club Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Premier Postal History, Post Office List, archived from the original on 10 May 2008, retrieved 11 April 2008
  15. Raymond Island: Past, Present, Future by Midge Beesley, 1986, ISBN 1-86252-649-4, page 164
  16. Raymond Island: Past, Present, Future by Midge Beesley, 1986, ISBN 1-86252-649-4, page 97
  17. Raymond Island: Past, Present, Future by Midge Beesley, 1986, ISBN 1-86252-649-4, page 98
  18. The Bairnsdale Advertiser, Monday 18 March 2002
  19. "The Messenger" of the Presbyterian Churches of Victoria and Tasmania, Melbourne, Friday 20 October 1905
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