The coastal town of St Kilda has always been Melbourne’s seaside playground, with its famous pier and kiosk, Luna Park and the grand Palais theatre. It took its name from a ship, the Lady of St Kilda, which was moored there for a while in 1841. However, the St Kilda which gave its name to the ship could not be a bigger contrast.
The original St Kilda is a small group of rocky windswept islands lying about 65km west of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. It supported a tiny population for hundreds of years until 1930 when the last islanders left. Life was hard, depending mostly on fishing and bird-catching, and visits to and from the mainland were sporadic and difficult, with the journey usually made by rowing boat.