The Purple Swamphen

Enjoying one of the best wildlife estuaries on Flinders Island, the Purple Swamphen spends its days lounging in the lagoon overlooking the magnificent view of iconic Mt Strzelecki. Feeding on grasses, snails and seeds this noble blueish bird bleats and hoots as cars go by…toot toot!

Styled after the decorative bird habituating the outskirts of town, The Purple Swamphen store ‘hatched’ on Friday 27th June. Situated on Lagoon Road, Whitemark, a new gift shop hoots too. Noises and sounds come from a record player spinning around!

The two birds manning the store intend to share just what talented islanders live for!

There are gifts made from string in the form of knitting, delicate wire baskets, cookies and treats plus a huge selection of specialty tea and all the accompanying accessories. The Purple Swamphen is fashioned within an organic island-made driftwood setting. Its delicious displays of candles are scented and ready to melt and local ceramics are already walking out the door.

Helen Carnell and Mel Telfer look forward to you popping in when you are next in town and welcome you to explore their inspiring space where creative juices flow and support is the Purple Swamphen’s middle name. It is encouraging that we can now follow through with designs and ideas to eventually showcase to our friends.

It all started when Mel Telfer wanted to make beautiful things to sell when a chance conversation with Helen Carnell of Furneaux Coffee, roasting her own beans said…

“I can’t set my new coffee roaster up in my shed!” Living off the grid Helen’s roaster would draw on her limited watts. “It would be great for me to have a space to concentrate on my coffee too!”

That is often how a story goes. Flinders Island folk do things out of necessity and the goal the girls have is sweet. The aim of the shop is to definitely treat! With handcrafted stamps, picturesque paintings and prints screened onto tee’s (Mel’s speciality) and linen tea-towels by a local celebrity

The unique coffee roaster is on its way and sure will make for a prominent visual display, not to mention for the senses! There are handcrafted bags, purses and leather, ‘Greensticks’ are walking apparatuses for coastal climbers or for those wishing to lean and notebooks keep memories.

Handbags and purses, leather and more are just some of delights awaiting in-store.

Locally made art-and-craft as well as a selection of items from Tasmania and beyond…Mel and Helen are open to ideas and cannot wait to present to our peers products that are often reserved for our annual show…

It is going to be a hoot as this space evolves.

X Sammi & Megan

The Purple Swamphen can be found at
7 Lagoon Rd, Whitemark
visit at


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