Heron Island (Queensland)

Heron Island is a coral cay located near the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern Great Barrier Reef, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north-east of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, and 460 km (290 mi) north-north-west of the state capital Brisbane. The island is situated on the leeward (western) side of Heron Reef, a fringing platform reef of significant biodiversity, supporting around 900 of the 1,500 fish species and 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef. During the summer months Heron Island is also home to over 200,000 birds including Noddy Terns and Mutton Birds.

The island is about 800 metres (2,600 feet) long and 300 metres (980 ft) at its widest, giving an area of approximately 16 hectares (40 acres). The highest point, near the western tip, is 3.6 metres (12 ft) above sea level. A dune ridge along the southern shore rises some 3 metres (9 ft 10 in) above sea level, lower dunes on the north-eastern side are only about ...Read more

Heron Island is a coral cay located near the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern Great Barrier Reef, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north-east of Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, and 460 km (290 mi) north-north-west of the state capital Brisbane. The island is situated on the leeward (western) side of Heron Reef, a fringing platform reef of significant biodiversity, supporting around 900 of the 1,500 fish species and 72% of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef. During the summer months Heron Island is also home to over 200,000 birds including Noddy Terns and Mutton Birds.

The island is about 800 metres (2,600 feet) long and 300 metres (980 ft) at its widest, giving an area of approximately 16 hectares (40 acres). The highest point, near the western tip, is 3.6 metres (12 ft) above sea level. A dune ridge along the southern shore rises some 3 metres (9 ft 10 in) above sea level, lower dunes on the north-eastern side are only about one metre (3 ft 3 in) above the sea.

Heron Island and an extrapolated version of the research station are the scene of much of the first part of Arthur C. Clarke's The Deep Range.

 Harbour and Research Station from helicopter

There is no evidence of Indigenous presence or activity on Heron Island; it is over 65 km (35 nmi) from the Australian mainland.[1]

The island was discovered on 12 January 1843 by a Royal Navy expedition comprising the corvette HMS Fly and the cutter Bramble. The expedition, commanded by Captain Francis Blackwood, was engaged in surveying the eastern edge of the Great Barrier Reef to map out detailed plans for safe passages within the reef.[2]

The island was named by Lieutenant Charles Bampfield Yule, the commander of Bramble.[2]

The island did not become inhabited until the early 20th century when a turtle cannery was established. The aim was to profit from the seasonal influx of green turtles, but the venture soon found it difficult to keep the business afloat. Other attempts at establishing fisheries were abandoned.

In 1932 Captain Christian Poulsen, engaged in bringing fishing parties to the reef, realised the potential of the island as a tourist attraction. In 1936 he bought the lease of the island for £290. On 11 September 1943, the entire island was declared a National Park.[3]

^ Queensl, The University of; Lucia, Australia Brisbane St; Gatton, QLD 4072 +61 7 3365 1111 Other Campuses: UQ; Maps, UQ Herston; Queensl, Directions © 2021 The University of. "Judy Watson's Heron Island artworks alert to danger in paradise". UQ News. Archived from the original on 1 December 2021. Retrieved 1 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link) ^ a b [1] Archived 2 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine Naval Historical Society of Australia ^ N. Coleman (1988). Discover Heron Island. p. 5.
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