Tracks - - Phillip Island Views - By Jo ck Se rong. All pho­tos Ed Sloane

If the bind­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of is­lands in the surf­ing imag­i­na­tion is es­capism, then Phillip Is­land doesn’t re­ally fit the bill.It’s linked to Mel­bourne al­most all the way by free ways. There’ s no flight, no ferry to ac­cess it: the road just slopes up­wards into a bridge at San Re mo and be­fore you know it you’ re on the is­land. That’ s the thing about bridges– they tether the bal­loon some­how.

Stretch­ing 23 km from Cape Wool am ai at one end to the Nob bi es at the other, Phillip Is­land forms the front edge of West­ern Port and looks vaguely like some kind of lea ping aquatic an­i­mal. The is­land has about a hun­dred kilo­me­tres of coast line, but only about half of that faces the South­ern Oceans well. It’s Boon­wur­rung/Bunurong coun­try, part of an indige­nous na­tion that ex­tended from present-day Mel­bourne, to the Morn­ing ton Penin­sula, and as far down the coast as Wil­son’ s Prom. Phillip Is­land is linked to the main­land at the far end, not the near end, mak­ing the dis­tance from Mel­bourne seem big­ger than it re­ally is. There’ s talk of a car ferry from the back of the Penin­sula: it would make the trip shorter, and yet re­in­force the is­land feel­ing by ne­ces­si­tat­ing a voy­age. Isn’ t per­cep­tion a funny thing?

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