Police have praised boaties who descended on Keswick Island during an Australia Day protest, describing the group as“well behaved”.

A flotilla of about 20 to 30 boats sailed to Basil Bay on Tuesday in a show of opposition to the island’s Chinese management.

A Queensland Police spokesman said no arrests were made on the island.

“The group was well behaved. We hear they enjoyed the beach and the good weather,” he said.

Police ramped up their presence on the island in preparation for the influx of protesters.

This included the use of the “Damian Leeding” large police vessel, a water police vessel and help from Mackay police officers.

Boats on Keswick Island. Picture: Jack Spratt
Boats on Keswick Island. Picture: Jack Spratt

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Keswick Island protester and Mackay resident Ciaron Paterson described the day as a “peaceful show of support” for the island residents.

“We had kids playing cricket on the beach, good old sausage sizzles going on, lamingtons being shared and even iceblocks,” Mr Paterson said.

“We had thong-throwing competitions and a tug-o-war game.

“Many new friends were made and I believe the small community and homeowners of Keswick Island were very humbled to see the support of the Mackay community and afar.”

A welcome sign on Keswick Island. Picture: Belinda McMahon/Stormybeachbelle
A welcome sign on Keswick Island. Picture: Belinda McMahon/Stormybeachbelle

The protest was organised following claims from island residents that head lease owner China Bloom has restricted access to the island.

The Daily Mercury has contacted China Bloom for comment.

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