The first Europeans to disturb the peace of Aboriginal people who lived here, the Quandamooka, were three shipwrecked timber-getters, in 1823. Some 20 years later the Point was named after the Duke of Wellington by two surveyors, Robert Dixon and James Warner; but European settlers didn't arrive until the land sales of the 1860s. In 1889 the Brisbane to Cleveland railway made Wellington Point more accessible.
Today there's a bustling precinct with lots of cafes and shops and amenities on the way to the Point, where aquatic activities are the name of the game. There's a massive car park with elongated spaces so you can park your boat- or jetski-carrying trailer as well as your car, but there are also fine (fig) trees, planted in the 1920s. There's a boat ramp and a jetty for fisherpeople. On the land side of the Point, from mid-to-low tide, a sand causeway leads to King Island, a mangroved reserve.
As the sea retreated further and we walked towards the reserve, numerous wading birds could be seen on the wet sand, grubbing about for newly stranded fishy morsels. There were lots of gulls and Bar-tailed Godwits (below) and the rather curious Striated Heron (below but one). He's an odd shape at the best times, but when he suddenly protruded his neck to a length hitherto unimaginable in order to catch prey, it was, well, startling.
There were also some little things that took a while to spot, so well camouflaged were they against their wet-sandy backdrop. We think they might have been Red-capped Plovers. None of the birds seemed particularly perturbed by the hordes of Sunday visitors. As usual, we seemed to be the only people interested in looking at them, or, indeed, even noticing they were there.
I would have liked to have walked to the furthest point of King Island, away from most of the very many people who had chosen Wellington Point on this particularly sunny afternoon for their watery pastimes. But a storm was threatening from the west: Brisbane was already copping it. It was quite a walk back along the sandway, and photography meant we only just made it back to the car before the heavens opened. I didn't realise that there was a man walking on water. Wasn't he in Byron a couple of weeks ago?
I felt a bit like a fish out of water at Wellington Point. I didn't have a 4WD or a trailer or a boat or a jetski or a kitesurfing thingy, or a windsurfing board and sail, or a fishing rod or an Esky with my catch in it. I just had my friend and a camera. I think I'd like to go back mid-week.