February 10 - 16, 2019: Issue 393
KING ISLAND KELP
King Island Coastline.
KING ISLAND KELP
by George Repin
King Island, in the Roaring Forties approximately 80 Kms. off the north-western tip of the main island of Tasmania is known for the range and quality of its dairy products – luscious King Island cream and varieties of distinctive premium, hand crafted cheeses – and for its prime, quality graded grass-fed beef.
It is not as well known for an important, though small, export industry based on the drying and milling of storm cast Bull Kelp (Durvillea Pototorum) collected on the beaches, mainly on the west coast of the island.
Kelp, with brown leathery fronds up to 8 metres in length, grows on rocks at sea. It breaks away during heavy weather and storm activity floating on to beaches where it is collected by “suppliers” and taken to King Island Kelp Industries at Currie on the island where it is processed.
Kelp Industries Visitors Centre in Currie.
Using S – shaped hooks the Kelp plants are hung on poles which are placed on racks at a conveniently low level for this to be easily done. The Kelp is then mechanically lifted from the lower racks to higher level racks for storage and atmospheric pre-drying. After about two weeks the air-dried kelp is fed into a wood-fired drying system in which sufficient moisture is removed so that the kelp can be stored. It is now brittle. In the next stages of processing the kelp is milled to a granular form. The standard milled product is packed into one tonne bags for export while the finer material is sieved and packed into 20 Kg. bags for the domestic market.
Kelp loaded first on low level racks.
Rows of drying racks
Air drying of kelp on high level racks.
The kelp delivered by each “supplier” is weighed separately and the supplier paid on the weight of dried kelp product. While the Company employs less than ten people, many more are involved as “suppliers” collecting kelp.
Kelp is rich in minerals and produces algin a complex carbohydrate (polysaccharide) useful in various industrial processes. Algin is added to ice cream before freezing to prevent crystallisation and it is used as a suspending and emulsifying agent in other food production.
It is also used in making salad dressings, detergents, toothpaste and, apparently, has a place in the manufacture of some tyres.
Since 1976 King Island Kelp Industries has exported more than 80,000 tonnes of dried Bull Kelp (equivalent to about half a million tonnes of wet kelp).
Most of the company’s production is bought by an international organisation, ISP Alginates, which controls about 30% of the world market in alginates. Most King Island kelp goes to Scotland, with some to Norway.
Alginate products have thousands of different applications. King Island Kelp Industries point out that, “in one form or another, it is very likely that you eat, drink, wear or in some other way enjoy the benefit” of King Island kelp.
Acknowledgement: Information on the processing of kelp on King Island has been derived from a personal visit to King Island Kelp Industries in 2009 and from the Company’s website.
Photographs by George Repin
Previous Reflections by George Repin
The Nineteen Thirties Remembering Rowe Street The Sydney Push Saturday Night at the Movies Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram A Stop On The Road To Canberra City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s Hill End The Paragon at Katoomba Seafood In Sydney How Far From Sydney? Cockatoo Island Over The Years The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991 Busby's Bore The Trocadero In Sydney Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection Gloucester and the Barrington Tops A Millenium Apart Have You Stopped to Look? Gulgong Il Porcellino Olympia Durham Hall Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia Hotels at Bondi Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone The Goroka Show - 1958 A Gem On The Quay Staffa The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls The Coal Mine At Balmain The Hyde Park Barracks The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant Waldheim Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955 King Island Kelp The Mercury Theatre Around Angkor - 1963 Angkor Wat 1963 Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli Chairman Mao's Personal Physician The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross The Oceaographic Museum in Monaco The Island of Elba Russian Fairy Tale Plates Meteora Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska Cloisonné Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories Not A Chagall! Did You Listen? Did You Ask? Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand Borobudur Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells Murano University of Padua Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi Pula The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park Aphrodisias The Divine Comedy Caodaism Sapa and local Hill People A Few Children Cappadocia Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997 Hotere Garden Oputae Children of the Trobriand Islands Page Park Market - Rabaul Rabual Kotor, Montenegro Galleries of Photographs I Lascaux Galleries of Photographs II The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia Ivan Meštrović - Sculptor Delphi Gallery of Photographs III The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point San Simeon - "Hearst Castle" Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982 Russian New Year Mycenae "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska The White Pass and Yukon Route Totem Poles Tivkin Cemetery Krka National Park - Croatia Tavistock Square and the BMA Orthodox Easter Wieliczka Salt Mine A Walk on Santorini Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958 A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist Kraków Lilianfels Collonges-La-Rouge Gingerbread Houses Cape Sounion Delos Wroclaw Colonial Williamsburg Gruyères Strasbourg Coventry Cathedral The Roman Theatre at Aspendos Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto Rovinj The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots Bonifacio, Corsica Autumn in New England USA The Great Ocean Road Pompeii Didyma Lawrence Hargrave 1850-1915 The Corinth Canal Malta Snapshots of Amsterdam Café Central - Vienna The Forbidden City - Beijing, China A Ride on the Jungfrau Railway - 1954 Snapshots in the Highlands of Scotland 1954 Must See Sights in Paris - 1954 Corfu Reflections On the Nineteen Thirties The Gold Souk in Dubai Stromboli Ha Long Bay - Vietnam Lake Argyle The Bungle Bungle Range Langgi Inlet, W.A. White Cliffs, NSW - 1990 Sturt National Park - May, 1990 A Few Statues and Water Spouts The Dodecanese Archipelago Rhodes Lindos The Church on Spilled Blood - 2005 Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad Repin's In "Ladies In Black" Signs of the Times at Sydney Museum: Repin Inns
Copyright George Repin 2019. All Rights Reserved.