purple swamphen shop interior home

The Purple Swamphen

Opening Hours

Wednesdays, Fridays 10 - 4
Saturdays 10-1

Often I'm there earlier, or leave later! Β Or I nip out to the bank in the middle of the day πŸ˜‰ Β Relax into island time and we'll all be groovy.

During December & January the 'Hen is open Mondays as well, and in the lead-up to Christmas I spend nearly every day helping people find the perfect handmade gift πŸ™‚


7 Lagoon Rd, Whitemark, Flinders Island, Tasmania.

We're tucked in the same building as the Bakery cafe, next to Killiecrankie Enterprises, and across the road from Roberts Rural Supplies (typical island directions right there!)

History of the Swamphen

The concept for the 'Hen began in April 2014 when two friends, Helen and Mel, decided that the island needed a space for local arts & crafts to be promoted and retailed to other lovers of handmade treasures. Helen had just started roasting coffee under the banner Furneaux Coffee, and Mel had just started playing about with screen and lino printing. A suitable nest was found in Whitemark, next to the local cafe. The friends' love of vintage and upcycling saw the shop kitted out with retro furniture and the all-important record player. They rounded up the local creatives and encouraged them to get crafty in preparation for the grand opening. In June 2014 the Swamphen hatched, and the little swampy chick started to grow.

The following two years saw the 'Hen grow and develop, and become known as a premier destination for quality handmade gifts and homewares on Flinders Island. In July 2016 Mel took on the business solo to allow Helen to focus on her coffee roasting (which, to be honest, is a much more important business for us coffee-lovers!).

purple swamphen bird plumage
A purple swamphen showing its beautiful plumage and huge feet. Image by Toby Hudson, from Wikimedia Commons.

Why a Purple Swamphen?

We like birds. Swamphens are a particular favourite as they're full of personality, a little ungainly, sometimes raucous, and are often found hanging around in the wetlands a hundred metres from our door. It's pretty hard to get a good photo of one without a telephoto lens though! They don't mind traffic driving past but get a bit agitated when one stops nearby. That's when you see the classic tail flick and employment of those loooong legs to stalk off to somewhere there's no paparazzi.