Flinders Island has a unique ecosystem. Shielded from the mainland of Tasmania and Victoria by Bass Strait, the island has a number of distinctive inhabitants and interesting status quo’s for local wildlife. Wallabies on Flinders Island have enjoyed being marooned on Flinders Island for over 20’000 years with no predators, and since the advent of farming there, have had lush bountiful pastures to feed from. This has resulted in a unique tasting meat that is unlike any other in Australia.
Wallabies on Flinders Island are wild – but feed from the same pastures that our award winning Saltgrass Lamb does. This pasture based diet and and total lack of stress from being wild and truly “free range”, results in a unique flavour. Wallaby is considered by many to be the lamb or veal of kangaroo -with a very delicate, clean flavour with only a hint of gaminess, and reflective of the environment in which it is raised. Wallaby is extremely low in cholesterol and fat and very high in protein and minerals, resulting in one of the healthiest meats money can buy – not to mention of the best tasting.
Flinders Island Wallabies have an enzyme present in their digestion system that negates the production of methane gas. Methane gas is produced in large quantities by other ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs. Methane gas emissions from livestock accounts for over 10% of Australia’s annual green house gas emissions. Our wallaby is virtually carbon neutral, thanks to their unique digestive system. They are at harmony with their natural environment and have very little impact upon the land compared to domesticated livestock, and their water consumption per kilo of edible meat is 70% less than sheep, and almost 90% less than beef (Munn et al. 2010, Water Footprint Network). Wallaby is a meat choice for the environmentally concious consumer.
The proof really is evident – Flinders Island Wallaby is served at 3 of 4 restaurants that received prestigious 3 Chef Hat ratings in The Age Good Food Guide – Attica, Vue de Monde, Jacques Reymond. Ben Shewry, Shannon Bennett and Jacques are all passionate about the story of Flinders Island, and the quality of our special wallaby product, as well as other prestigious chefs in Sydney including Peter Gilmore, Kylie Kwong and Colin Fassnidge.
As a unique native product, it also offers chefs the opportunity to explore the question of “What is Australian Food?” – and the results of chefs from around the country combining their traditional cultural based cooking techniques and methods with an indigenous ingredient has given rise to dishes and cuisine that can only be described as “Truly Australian”.
Bennetts Wallaby and Pademelon Wallaby are found in large numbers on the Island. Many are culled by farmers as they present a big problem for them – each night the wallabies come down from the surrounding bush and eat a large amount of the pastures on farming properties. This is a big problem for farming families as less grass means less stock they can run on their properties, which can mean the difference between being their farm surviving or not. Many will cull them, but a large proportion of wallabies are then left in paddocks to rot. This presents not just a negative image but also a real carbon emission from decomposition.
Flinders Island Meat has licenced and accredited shooters who shoot wallaby in their natural environment – we are then able to use this meat to feed others, rather than letting it go to waste. As a tradition of the aboriginal peoples who once inhabited mainland Tasmania, and who are now well represented on Flinders Island, it is also an important cultural practice.
Many chefs also comment on the consistent tenderness and colour of Flinders Island wallaby. Much of this is down to the fact the wallabies are unstressed in their natural habitat when shot – this means that they are not being herded by a sheepdog, enduring a long arduous truck journey, or entering an often scary and stressful abattoir. Their stress levels are at a bare minimum, and that is why we believe this method of slaughter is the most humane method we have available, across any animal type.
Further, the gathering of wallabies are restricted on a quota basis that is reviewed annually and is independent of market demand. These quotas are based on population size observations, trends, and long term climate forecasts.
The conservation of the population on the island remains an utmost concern, and accordingly the gathering of wallabies is managed with a wholly sustainable outlook.
“Flinders Island Meat – you can taste the difference”