How is the desert island of the Australian Robinson?

Jun 05, 2017 · Curiosities

As I have already related in this post and this video, two years ago I spent five days on the castaway squatter’s island, the Australian David Glasheen. It is called Restoration Island and in this article I will try to keep brief my accounts about this encounter.

Firstly, I should point out that we are talking about a very inhospitable area in the north east of Australia (see map). Strangely enough, not far from there, were two very different historic castaways. One was a Frenchman called Narcisse Pellieter who in 1875, after a passionate life with the aborigines, was rescued on Night Island.
Alvaro Cerezo Docastaway David GlasheenThe other hermit was Gerald Kingsland, a British journalist who, just like our clients, voluntarily became a castaway on an island with a girl who he had never met before. The film “Castaway” by Nicholas Roeg is based on this story.

Taking advantage of my journey towards David Glasheen’s island I decided to be ‘shipwrecked’ for a few days on Gerald’s island, called Tuin. But the Badu aborigines (the island’s owners) blocked my way due to the bad memories they had of the girl (Lucy Irvine). According to the natives Lucy’s behaviour left much to be desired. Maybe one day I’ll write about this in this blog.

On the contrary, the island of the Frenchman, Pellieter, didn’t present any restrictions whatsoever for camping there. Nonetheless, David Glasheen tried to persuade me not to visit it as this island is totally infested with salt water crocodiles, amongst other reasons, due to the proximity of estuaries and swamps.

The truth is that on Restoration Island (where Dave lives) there are also salt water crocodiles, but in lesser number. All the same, these enormous reptiles are truly a great threat to man and no-one should even think of swimming or scuba diving carelessly in this area. As an example take Quassi, Dave’s dog, who survived two attacks.

“Only mad men and idiots would think to swim carelessly in these waters”, explained Dave.

Australian Robinson David Glasheen

One day Dave and I went exploring in his boat, around the swamp area which is about 3 km (2 miles) from his island. As soon as we arrived we came across a marine crocodile and this video can be seen on YouTube. We also found a dead crocodile on another beach, and the smell was nauseating. I have some videos of this, but Dave asked me not to publish them out of respect for the aborigines who live near, in Lockhart River.

Restoration Island Map


In the map of the area which you can see here at the side, you will see where this encounter took place and the distance to the island.

Taking into account that the crocodile is the most dangerous predator for humans (1,000 deaths/year) and also taking into account that these reptiles can move great distances under water, the threat or menace on Restoration Island is very real. According to Dave, there are crocodiles watching him from the water many afternoons whilst he works. 

But these reptiles aren’t the only threat on David Glasheen’s island. As well as different types of insects and spiders there are also tiger sharks and white sharks. The extremely venomous coastal taipan snake is also an inhabitant and, sadly, one of these snakes ended the life of Dave’s dog, Quassimodo, last year. 
Alvaro Cerezo Docastaway
“Quassi was bitten by a coastal taipan which came here after a rodent issue which we have never had in this region before. Taipans are prolific in cape York and are Australia’s deadliest snakes. They are also very beautiful. I took a photo and had it confirmed. Quassi killed the snake but there is no antidote here at Lockhart Quassi was in no pain and I will really miss him. He was 8 years old and survived 2 crocodile attacks. He was a much loved dog by everyone” Dave explained.

After a time of grieving David Glasheen has found a new friend with whom to share his life on the island. A dog called Polly who is very clever and wild, she is 95% Dingo.  “Now I have a new dog crossed with a Dingo that’s called Polly and who has been here nine months. However she will never replace Quassi but she is turning into a good dog” David added.

Polly New Dog David GlasheenOn this island I also found the largest coconut I have ever seen.  Dave has had it many years.

By the way, of my time on Restoration Island I remember what was for me the unknown smell of ants.  The island is plagued with the Australian Oecophylla Smaragdine ant.  Its back end is green and when you crush them they give out a strong acid smell. 

Dave doesn’t live too isolated from civilisation and he has a small aluminium boat with a 30 horse power motor. This allows him to leave the island whenever he wants. Twenty years living in the area has allowed this castaway to create strong ties with the aborigines of Lockhart. Dave is always helping them and he feels proud to belong to this community.

David Glasheen Young Youth


Although David Glasheen lives a very austere life, the truth is he has some comforts that have nothing to envy compared to those that our castaways enjoy on our Comfort Mode islands.

Restoration Island has a generator and even internet which, though very slow, allows me to communicate with Dave whenever I want to know how he is.

In any case, Mr. Glasheen decided some time ago that Restoration Island is the place where he wants to spend the rest of his life. Let’s see if he is lucky and after all he won’t be evicted

By the way, have YOU ever met a marine crocodile or a taipan coastal snake?  Tell me about it here, below, and if you have photos, great!!

Follow Us!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Ma June 20, 2017 at 4:48 am

After reading your written story about this business man’s quiet lifestyle, I have a crush on what you are doing now.

I went to a meditation center in India once before, a lot of people (old, young and business guy ) went there for escaping the noise of their life and also quite a good experience for me. I think this kind of articles and lifestyle can appeal to Chinese as well. Too much pressure on them, isn’t it?

Series stories about the wellness and peace of inner mind and body would have great impact on Chinese customers who have busy and tough lifestyle during their life.

Restoration Island will be a wellness and healing center travel in the future I guess.

This Island right now has huge value for wellness and for those people who wanna have another quiet and escape away from the noisy world.

Anyway, I am totally interested in what you are doing currently and hope to talk to you deeply when you are convenient.


Alvaro Cerezo September 30, 2017 at 1:15 am

YEs. Sure. You can contact me on my facebook


Jacob Brogan November 20, 2017 at 3:44 pm

You forgot the original castaways, who gave it it’s name, the infamous Capt. Bligh of the HMS Bounty.


Alvaro Cerezo August 11, 2018 at 5:03 am

Good point Jacob. Thanks for reminding! 🙂


Diana Arnold December 13, 2017 at 3:53 am

Hi I watched the programme last night with Ben Foyle and David and what a truly amazing story and I can resonate with David that we all could do with some space to heal – and that living in a busy town and trying to be part of a community is no mean feat anywhere! We have to be self reliant and efficient and Dave is taking the sync for not taking more out of the world’s resources to a perfect harmony. Single myself I understand his request for commenting the opposite sex. Maybe you could pass my email address on? I am 66 but fit and have been Staff we’ve r in Africa but never been to Australia although my younger son lives in New Zealand and I have done my fair share of fighting unfair and issues where the greedy people win! Kind regards Diana


Alvaro Cerezo August 11, 2018 at 4:53 am

Thanks for the tip! 🙂


Ralph April 27, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Do you know what kind of breed Quassi was?



Alvaro Cerezo August 11, 2018 at 4:47 am

oh No idea. I will try to ask David and let you know


Alvaro Cerezo August 11, 2018 at 5:00 am

David just told me: Quassi’s mum was pure pit bull. Father was a combination of Lockart dogs including ridge back, mastiff etc .
He was one of 10 puppies


Alvaro Cerezo August 11, 2018 at 5:00 am

David just told me: “Quassi’s mum was pure pit bull. Father was a combination of Lockart dogs including ridge back/ mastiff/etc .
He was one of 10 puppies”


Moustafa Berro May 5, 2019 at 3:52 pm

all my respects to this man. When he lost everything he didnt end his life he just started a new one which shows how strong this man is. Especially his situation is not similar to other people he was accapable of doin anything but when he lost he started from zero again. Id love to join this man on his journey even though hes near his death id continue his started life.


Alvaro Cerezo June 24, 2019 at 8:29 pm

Yes 🙂 You can write him to his email address


Milli June 18, 2019 at 10:50 am

RESPECT! I love what David is doing! Thank you so much for bringing us this story. Any updates on the situation with the authorities?? Leave the man in peace! Leave the island in peace – it lifts our spirits to know there are non commercialised places left in the world. Just advise us kiwis if you need numbers to stage a protest! … did you hear we (the Nz public) mobilised to purchase a remote and beautiful beach in the able Tasman national park, to save it from going to private (& foreign) ownership? I will sail my own boat over if I need to – which will be quite a feat as I havent learned to sail it yet 🤣 please tell David we send prayers hugs and best wishes and to let us know if he needs anything else. As Helen Keller said “if life is not a daring adventure, then it is nothing at all” or words to that effect. Much aroha, an inspired kiwi


Alvaro Cerezo June 24, 2019 at 8:21 pm

Thanks! David is still living on Restoration island. He’s got a new Dingo (his previous Dingo was killed ‘again’ by a snake. Thats amazing about that unspoilt beach in Tasman National Park. If you like you can send the greetings directly to dave to his email address 🙂


Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: