When visiting Perth or Fremantle a visit to Rottnest Island is a must. The Island lies just some 12k or so from the coast, but is a true escape location. A day visit is enough and be sure to allow time for the two ‘free’ tours that are on offer. The downside to the visit is the cost, but on balance can just be justified. The driver of the cost is the landing fee that is included in the boat fare ticket.
The first Europeans to land on the island were 13 Dutch sailors including Abraham Leeman from the Waeckende Boey who landed near Bathurst Point on 19 March 1658 while their ship was careened nearby.
The island is administered by the Rottnest Island Authority, an agency of the Western Australian government, set up specifically for this purpose. The authority collects revenue by imposing a "landing fee" on all visitors to the island.
Ten Aboriginal prisoners were sent to Rottnest Island in August 1838. The Colonial Secretary announced in June 1839 that the island would become a penal establishment for Aboriginal people. It has been estimated that there may be as many as 369 Aboriginal graves on the island. Some 3,700 Aboriginal men and boys, from all parts of the state, were imprisoned.