The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
CAMP SETTLEMENTS, Falkland IslandsPort Louis- Ailsa Heathman


Origins of settlements

The earliest camp settlements, especially East Falkland settlements, were established in the 1800’s when cattle hunting was at its height. Sometimes then known as ‘corrals’ they were generally in areas with good coastal pastures which the wild cattle favoured and where they could easily be herded, corralled and killed.  A nearby supply peat for fuel was also an important factor. By the time West Falkland was populating wild cattle were almost hunted out and in decline but sheep farming was developing. Falkland settlements tended to grow up along deep harbours where jetties could be constructed for ships to bring supplies and importantly wool could be shipped out.

Until the subdivision of the huge 'corporate' farms an average settlement had a population of perhaps 30 people with outside houses for shepherds. The larger settlement was typically built on a ‘green’ with up to ten houses, surrounded by sheep holding paddocks which very often had gorse bush hedges to give shelter. Every settlement was/is dominated by a huge wool/ shearing shed with sheep pens and races. This could hold hundreds of sheep and was situated near to the jetty. One large house would be a Manager’s house and others would house a Foreman, a Mechanic, and a Handyman. Others housed married shepherds or workers. Every house had a ‘peat stack’, a large yard, dog kennels, gardens and a hen run. Each house had a 'meat safe', a fly-proof construction a square metre or two inside and capable of holding a mutton or quarter of beef. A store, ran by the farm, opened once or twice a week provided basic supplies. Mostly supplies were bought on 'account' to the farm and settled by being deducted periodically from wages. Often there was a social hall where films were shown and dances were held. This building might double up as school, manned by travelling teachers during the day. There was always a ‘cookhouse’ or bunkhouse for single employees and dog kennels, a corral for horses, a cow shed (for milking), a killing shed ( mutton) and a palenque for hanging beef.

Subdivision of large farms into owner-occupied farms

Before 1979 the islands had 36 large 'corporate' farms. In 1980 the FI Government acquired Roy Cove (West Falklands) and Green Patch (East Falklands) and divided them into six private farms each. More subdivisions have resulted in there now being 84 mostly family run farms each of around 10,000ha with the ability to carry about 6400 sheep.

In 1991 the Government purchased a further four large farms from the Falkland Islands Company Ltd (equating to about one quarter of the total farm land in the islands). Falklands Landholdings Corporation was established, a statutory organisaion, to run these farms.

Some 'outside' shepherds houses became the main house of an independent farm but some farmers who were allocated units chose to farm the land from an original settlement house, sharing the original shearing sheds and facilities.
Fox Bay (subdivided) is still a substantial West Falkland settlement as is Goose Green on the East.

East Falkland Settlements

West Falkland Settlements

West Island Settlements

East Island Settlements

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Photographic credits: Header: Ailsa Heathman, Weddell- Dilys Waton, Bleaker- Jeremy Richards/
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