Lafonia, a flat & desolate landscape – Courtesy of Keith & Val

Lafonia is a peninsula forming the southern part of East Falkland, the largest of the Falkland Islands.
Shaped like the letter “E”, it is joined to the northern part of the island by a 4 km narrow isthmus; were this isthmus to be severed, Lafonia would be the third largest of the Falkland Islands. Falkland Sound runs to the west between Lafonia and West Falkland. Choiseul Sound divides Lafonia from the northern part of East Falkland.
Barren Island, Bleaker Island, George Island, Lively Island, Sea Lion Island and Speedwell Island are all off Lafonia.

The geology of north west Lafonia is Permian, and similar to that of parts of Ecca Pass in South Africa. The plain of Lafonia is constituted by arenaceous sediments of the Lafonia Group.
Depressions in the sediments formed where they were cut vertically by basalt dikes.
The plain of Lafonia is constituted by arenaceous sediments of the Lafonia Group. Depressions in the sediments formed where they were cut vertically by basalt dykes. In the 21st century, Lafonia has seen gold prospecting by Falkland Gold and Minerals Ltd.

Charles Darwin surveyed the area’s wildlife during his now-famous voyage on HMS Beagle.
Lafonia’s wildlife includes the Chiloe Wigeon, Silver Teal and Yellow-billed Pintail. Introduced brown trout are found in at least one stream flowing into Choiseul Sound. There is also a population of Zebra trout.


History of Lafonia


The land is gentle and low-lying, but almost uninhabited, falling into the “camp” category. Most of its settlement occurred in the mid 19th century.
In 1845 Mr Samuel Fisher Lafone, a wealthy cattle and hide merchant on the river Plate, obtained from government a grant of the southern portion of the East Falkland, which was a peninsula 600,000 acres (2,400 km²) in extent, and possession of all the wild cattle on the island for a period of six years, for a payment of £10,000 down, and £20,000 in ten years from January 1, 1852.
In 1851 Mr Lafone’s interest in Lafonia, as the peninsula came to be called, was purchased for £30,000 by the Falkland Islands Company, which had been incorporated by charter in the same year.

It has been used for sheep farming since the early nineteenth century and is run from Darwin (founded 1859) and Goose Green, both of which are located on the narrow isthmus that separates Lafonia from the rest of East Falkland.

North Arm Settlement is the only substantial settlement in Lafonia (not counting offshore islands), along with Walker Creek.
Attractions include the Bodie Suspension Bridge, built in 1925 and said to be the southernmost in the world. There is also a shop here. Listed buildings in Lafonia include The Galpon and Stone Corral in Darwin, The Stone Cottage and Goose Green Hall (owned by Falklands Landholdings) in Goose Green and Paragon House.

Lafonia played an important part in the Falklands War, with the first land battles; over a thousand Argentine personnel were stationed there, and there is an Argentine Military Cemetery here.
One hundred locals were imprisoned in the community hall concurrently. Parts of Lafonia, especially near Darwin and Goose Green, are still heavily mined. Other settlements include Port King, Egg Harbour and the abandoned Hope Place.


Map of Lafonia

Map of Lafonia
Click to enlarge