Born in 1942, Jack grew up on Flinders Island with his 11 brothers and sisters. Jack’s father, grandfather and great grandfather were cray fisherman and the Wheatley name is one of the most well known on the island. Jack’s father started on the boat before he could walk and his father used a crayfish pot as his playpen!
Years ago there used to be about eight cray fishing boats operating out of Killiecrankie and about 30 cray fishing boats out of Lady Barron. Quotas were introduced when overfishing of the crayfish was occurring. Quotas have gradually been sold off (to ‘suits’ in Melbourne) and now there is just 1 cray fisherman on the island. Jack still competes with the recreational cray divers and at 74 years of age, Jack works around the clock during crayfish season to fill his quota. His brother Alan sells the crayfish to Tooradin Restaurant, Wings and Fins and into Richmond, Melbourne.