Bass Strait separates mainland Australia from Tasmania. It wasn’t discovered until 1798 when Bass and Flinders circumnavigated Tasmania thus proving the existence of the Strait and shortening the sailing distance from England to Sydney by 1300kms. However, the discovery came at a price. Bass Strait is only 250kms wide and has more than 50 islands. It is known for being one of the roughest stretches of water in the world.
“Bass Strait is both twice as wide and twice as rough as the English Channel.” – Wikipedia
There are over 600 shipwrecks on the Victorian coast alone. Not surprisingly sailors referred to traversing Bass Strait as ‘Threading the eye of the needle’.
Residents of King Island attribute the fine grazing pastures of their island to the straw washed ashore from the beds of the many ships wrecked in the Nineteenth century.
In 1848 the first lighthouse was built on Deal Island and another on Cape Otway.