Saturday, July 10, 2010

green island

No, not the delightful spot on the mainland side of the beautiful island - although we would not be surprised if some of this group made it out there.

Yet again this story is another in today's POST. How much Rottnest news can you fit into a 92-page paper?

ROTTNEST ISLAND WAS a sea of green this week as it became Kelly country.

Dozens from the extended family celebrated their 40th anniversary of getting together on the holiday paradise.

“There are 38 in-laws and out-laws here and we've been coming to Rottnest since 1970,” Brendon Kelly told the POST last weekend.

A family member even flew in from Washington DC for this year's nine-day sojourn, which also saw the celebration of two engagements.

The tradition began when Brendon's father Lou chose the island as his family's vacation destination.

“He was born in Bunbury, was a great fan of the coast and decided Rottnest was appropriate,” Brendon said.

The first idyllic holiday with wife Marie and five kids was spent in what was then called Cottage X in north Thomson Bay.

“He always preferred to stay in a north Thomson unit or villa – never a bungalow – so we always have,” Brendon said.

The Kellys usually holiday in May, although sometimes they cross Gage Roads in June or July.

Marie now has great-grandchildren: her youngest grandson aged six months was with her on the island this week.

“We used to bring our own televisions in the early days,” she said.

Marie has been an active worshipper at the Holy Rosary Catholic parish in Doubleview for 55 years.

“We painted the ceiling of the Rottnest church when it was first built, and polished the brass – before that we used to worship in the picture hall,” she said.

Brendon said organising the annual event was easy.

“The women prepare lots of food and the men handle the beer and fishing,” he said.

“Our favourite fishing spots are the basin, Pinky's and the Thomson Bay jetty.”

Marie's son Kieran he did not know why some people complained about Rottnest.

“How many kids have got off their training wheels here?” he asked.

The Kellys all wore emerald green T-shirts made for the anniversary.

“Please don't make us look like a cult,” a younger female Kelly pleaded.

The family came to WA from Ireland's west coast.

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