Following its use as a quarantine station the island was leased to different people. The most notable was Bob Miller, who tried exotic farming (e.g. angora rabbits) and early tourism ventures. Some traces remain…
Notable events in this period:
The Waikana (above) took excursions to the island and other places.
The Oreti (former Baden Powell, New South Wales 1902) carried timber from Stewart Island and Port Craig to Dunedin until being brought to the island for dismantling in 1932. Her timbers of Australian jarra can been seen in various part of the Island.
The remains of the Waikana (1909) and the Oreti (1902) are still visible alongside the causeway,
Byrd’s Dogs. Bob Miller brought thousands of visitors to see Commander Byrd’s Antarctic dogs in late 1928 (4000 on one day!) on the Waikana and the Waireka.
Extending the Lodge with parts of the ‘Modern Joinery’ exhibit from the ‘NZ and South Seas Exhibition 1925-1926’. Much of the exterior of the current Lodge comes from this material particularly stained glass. Bob Miller also bought the ‘Fun Factory’ and ‘Fiji Exhibition’ and ‘Scenic Railway’. No visible signs except some rails and railroad spikes remain of these.
Dances and a Dance hall. Bob Miller removed the middle floor of the Married Quarters and the cubicles to make one open hall (as it is today). Music was provided by a gramophone or piano.
1943-1957. The Fentons held the lease- unprofitably farmed sheep, cattle and poultry.