Flinders Island (South Australia)
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Flinders Island South Australia

Flinders Island
Flinders Island is located in South Australia
Flinders Island
Flinders Island
Geography
LocationGreat Australian Bight
Coordinates33°42?49?S 134°29?49?E / 33.71367°S 134.49686°E / -33.71367; 134.49686Coordinates: 33°42?49?S 134°29?49?E / 33.71367°S 134.49686°E / -33.71367; 134.49686
Area3,642 ha (9,000 acres)[1]
Highest elevation66 m (217 ft)[2]
Administration
Australia

Flinders Island is an island in the Investigator Group off the coast of South Australia approximately 32 kilometres (20 mi) west of mainland town Elliston. It was named by Matthew Flinders after his younger brother Samuel Flinders, the second lieutenant on HMS Investigator in 1802.

It is part of the Investigator Group Important Bird Area and has a colony of little penguins, but has suffered from the feral cats, black rats and mice, which threaten the bird life. The island is privately owned and was used mostly for farming since 1911, although that tailed off as transport costs rose. In 2020 the owners signed an agreement with the Government of South Australia which places a conservation agreement over 3,400 hectares (8,400 acres), which is most of the island.

The island has been subject to diamond exploration following the discovery of a wide range of kimberlite indicator minerals there, which was continuing as of 2019.

History

European discovery and use

Flinders named the island after his younger brother Samuel, who was the sloop's second lieutenant, on Saturday, 13 February 1802.[3] Flinders' expedition described some aspects of the island's flora and fauna. Lower land was covered with large bushes, unlike islands previously passed further north. There was very little of the white, velvety grass striplex or tufted wiry grass previously seen. A small macropod species was described as "numerous" and specimens were shot. There were a few small casuarinas growing on the island but firewood was scarce. The beaches were frequented by Australian sea lions, of which several family groups were closely inspected.[4]

A sealing camp was in place on the south-east side of the island by the 1820s.[5] There was also a whaling station.[6] The sealers, their Aboriginal wives and children numbered up to twenty people at one stage.[] A pastoral survey of the site in 1890 identified ten separate structures associated with the sealing community, and archaeological examination of the structures took place in the 1980s.[] The Flinders Island Whaling and Sealing Site is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.[7]

Some time prior to 1911, sheep, horses, cattle, milk thistles and oats were introduced to Flinders Island, presumably by Mr Willie Schlink and his family. At this time 1,500 acres (610 ha) of the island had been cleared and was producing 1,400 to 2,000 bags of wheat annually. 4,000 sheep were kept and black and white rabbits ran wild on the island. By the time of the island's sale in 1911, 30,000 wallabies had been killed there.[8] The island continued to be used mostly for farming, although that tailed off as transport costs rose. In the late 1970s, the island was bought by the Woolford family, who ran it as a sheep station for merinos. By 2020, there were only a few sheep and the island was used mainly for tourism (via house rental) and recreation.[6][9]

Conservation

Flinders Island is one of the islands included in the Investigator Islands Important Bird Area identified by BirdLife International, a non-statutory status, awarded in 2009 because of the island group's population of fairy tern (a vulnerable species) , as well as significant populations of Cape Barren geese, Pacific gull and black-faced cormorant.[10] Other birds for which the IBA is significant include large numbers of breeding short-tailed shearwaters and white-faced storm-petrels. The biome-restricted rock parrot has been recorded from most islands in the group.[11][12]

An account of Flinders Island's wildlife published in 1934 stated that penguins could "be seen waddling soldier-like among the rocks and cave entrances that constitute their homes".[13] In 2006 there was an colony of little penguins believed to be "probably declining", with an estimated population of fewer than twenty birds, nesting at the base of some cliffs where feral cats have limited access.[14] A risk assessment for the penguins commissioned by DEWNR in 2016 report based their recommendations on the 2006 estimate. It reported that the feral cats were responsible for the probable decline, but if they were eliminated, the rat population would grow, so both would need to be removed.[15][16]

A strip of land along the north coast of the island extending west from the island's most northerly headland, Point Malcolm, has been the subject of the subject of a heritage agreement as a protected area since 29 August 1995. The parcel of land which is identified as No. HA1003 is sized at 279 hectares (690 acres). Since 2012, the waters adjoining the Flinders Island have been part of a habitat protection zone in the Investigator Marine Park.[17][18][19]

In 2020 the owners signed an agreement with the Government of South Australia which places a conservation agreement over 3,400 hectares (8,400 acres), which is most of the island.[6] The feral cats, black rats and mice, which threaten the bird life, need to be eradicated, and threatened animals will be introduced. The three-year Flinders Island Safe Haven Project received A$1.67 million through the federal government's Environment Restoration Fund, and A$1 million from the South Australian Government to co-manage the establishment of the project with the Woolford family.[9]

Mining exploration

The island has been subject to diamond exploration following the discovery of a wide range of kimberlite indicator minerals there,[20] which was continuing as of 2019.[21]

Citations and references

Citations

  1. ^ Robinson et al, 1996, page 189
  2. ^ DMH, 1985, chart 38
  3. ^ Flinders, 1814 (1966), pages 223
  4. ^ "Early History of South Australia No. VIII". South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889). 7 October 1882. p. 1. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ Kostoglou, Parry; McCarthy, Justin (1991). Whaling and sealing sites in South Australia (First ed.). Fremantle, WA: Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology. pp. 51-6.
  6. ^ a b c Pedler, Emma; Leckie, Evelyn (22 August 2020). "South Australia's private Flinders Island converted into a haven for threatened species". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ "Flinders Island Whaling & Sealing Site". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2016.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "A Romantic Land". Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929). 15 February 1911. p. 8. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Flinders Island to be a wildlife haven". Department for Environment and Water. 20 August 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ "Investigator Islands [detail]". BirdLife Data Zone. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "Investigator Islands [summary]". BirdLife Data Zone. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "Investigator Islands [text account]". BirdLife Data Zone. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ "Know Flinders' Island ? We'll Tell You About It". The Wooroora Producer. 12 July 1934. p. 3. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ Wiebkin, 2011, pages 14 & 39
  15. ^ Dann, Peter (August 2016). Independent report on the risk assessment for little penguins in South Australia including management recommendations and priorities (PDF). DEWNR Report. Government of South Australia. Dept of Water, Environment and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources (August 2016). Conservation risk assessmentreportfor little penguins in SouthAustralia (PDF). DEWNR Technical report2016/33. Government of South Australia. Dept of Water, Environment and Natural Resources. ISBN 978-0-9870538-7-9. Retrieved 2020.
  17. ^ "Investigator Marine Park Management Plan 2012" (PDF). Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Government of South Australia. 2012. pp. 5 and Appendix 1. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ DEH, 2006, page 12
  19. ^ "CAPAD 2012 South Australia Summary (see 'DETAIL' tab)". CAPAD 2012. Australian Government - Department of the Environment. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ Cooper, S.A., 2004. New diamond field discovered in SA. MESA Journal 24, 6-9. Primary Industries & Resources South Australia publication. Archived 4 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Delaney, Jarrad (6 August 2019). "Diamond exploration to continue on Flinders Island". Port Lincoln Times. Retrieved 2020.

References



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