Handmade gifts from Flinders Island

Jewellery, crafts & homewares shop

The Purple Swamphen is based in Whitemark, Flinders Island, Tasmania.  Its shelves are full of wonderful handmade goodies from the island and beyond.

The remote nature of Flinders Island seems to promote a can-do attitude among the locals, so the Swamphen has a wide variety of artistic and crafty suppliers.  All creators are encouraged and supported, whether they are experimenting with new talents or seasoned artists with many years' experience.  The most rewarding part is watching the locals (particularly the youngsters!) develop their skills into new areas.

Fishing at Trousers Point

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 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.  Local creatives were rounded up and encouraged to get crafty in preparation for our grand opening.  In June 2014 the Swamphen hatched, and our 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!).  The Swamphen took its first step online with a basic website, and has now added an online shop to help share the island's talents with the big wide world.

So what's with the name?

 We like birds.  Especially the feathered sort (although there's nothing wrong with the unfeathered ones either).  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.

Purple Swamphen chicks by Glen Fergus
image by Glen Fergus, from Wikimedia Commons