Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is Australia'sthird-largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island.

It lies in the state ofSouth Australia 112 km southwest of Adelaide.

Its closest point to themainland is Snapper Point in Backstair Passage which is 13.

5 km from theFleurieu Peninsula.

Once occupied by Australian Aborigines,the native population disappeared after the land became an island followingrising sea levels several thousand years ago.

It was subsequently resettled fromthe early 19th century onwards, at first casually by sealers and whalers, andthen as part of the colony of South Australia from 1836.

Since then the island's economy has been principally agricultural, with asouthern rock lobster fishery and with tourism growing in importance.

Thelargest town, and the administrative centre, is Kingscote.

The island hasseveral nature reserves to protect the remnants of its natural vegetation andnative animals, with the largest and best-known being Flinders Chase NationalPark at the western end.

Description The island is 150 km long and between 90 km and 57 km wide, its area covering4,405 km2.

Its coastline is 540 kilometres long and highest point isMount McDonnell at 299 m above sea level.

It is separated from YorkePeninsula to the northwest by Investigator Strait and from FleurieuPeninsula to the northeast by Backstairs Passage.

A group of islets, the Pages,lie off the eastern end of the island.

History = Prehistory = Kangaroo Island separated from mainlandAustralia around 10,000 years ago, due to rising sea level after the lastglacial period.

Known as Karta by the mainland Aboriginal tribes, theexistence of stone tools and shell middens show that Aboriginal people oncelived on Kangaroo Island.

It is thought that they occupied it as long ago as16,000 years before the present, and may have only disappeared from the island asrecently as 2000 years ago.

A mainland Aboriginal dreaming storytells of the Backstairs Passage flooding:"Long ago, Ngurunderi's two wives ran away from him, and he was forced tofollow them.

He pursued them and as he did so he crossed Lake Albert and wentalong the beach to Cape Jervis.

When he arrived there he saw his wives wadinghalf-way across the shallow channel which divided Naroongowie from themainland.

He was determined to punish his wives, and angrily ordered the waterto rise up and drown them.

With a terrific rush the waters roared and thewomen were carried back towards the mainland.

Although they triedfrantically to swim against the tidal wave they were powerless to do so andwere drowned.

" = European settlement =On 23 March 1802 British explorer Matthew Flinders, Commanding HMSInvestigator, named the land "Kanguroo Island", due to the endemic subspeciesof the western grey kangaroo, Macropus fuliginosus fuliginosus, after landingnear Kangaroo Head on the north coast of Dudley Peninsula.

He was closelyfollowed by the French explorer Commander Nicolas Baudin, who was thefirst European to circumnavigate the Island and who mapped much of theisland.

Although the French and the British wereat war at the time, the men met peacefully.

They both used the freshwater seeping at what is now known as Hog Bay near Frenchman's Rock and thesite of present-day Penneshaw.

Baudin named the Island Île Borda, in honour ofJean-Charles de Borda, although the French chart published by Louis deFreycinet after Baudin's death referred to the Island as Île Decres.

A community of sealers and others existed on Kangaroo Island from 1802 tothe time of South Australia's colonisation in 1836.

The sealers wererough men and several kidnapped Aboriginal women from Tasmania andmainland South Australia.

The women were kept prisoner as wives and virtualslaves.

Three Aboriginal women tried to escape and swim back to the mainland;one is on record as having survived the journey.

In 1803 sealers from theAmerican brig Union built the schooner Independence, the first ship constructedin South Australia, at what is now American River.

The first ship to arrive that brought settlers for the new colony was the Dukeof York commanded by Captain Robert Clark Morgan in 1836.

= Shipwrecks and lighthouses = Numerous ships have been wrecked on theKangaroo Island coastline, the largest being Portland Maru of 5,865 tons, whichsank at Cape Torrens on 20 March 1935.

The greatest loss of life occurred withthe wreck of Loch Sloy on 24 April 1899 at Maurpetius Bay, when 31 persons weredrowned, and one initial survivor subsequently perished.

27 people drownedat West Bay in September 1905, when Loch Vennachar was wrecked.

The first lighthouse built was erected at Cape Willoughby in 1852; this wasalso the first lighthouse to be erected in South Australia.

This was followed bythe Cape Borda Lightstation in 1858, the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse in 1906 andCape St Albans Lighthouse in 1908.

All lighthouses continue to be operational.

Economy = Townships =The biggest town on Kangaroo Island is Kingscote.

Originally established atReeves Point on 27 July 1836, it is South Australia's first colonialsettlement.

It was later suggested that Kingscote could serve as the capital ofSouth Australia, but the island's resources were insufficient to supportsuch a large community, so the settlement of Adelaide was chosen.

There are several smaller towns on the island.

Penneshaw, the second largesttown on Kangaroo Island, has a population of around 300, and is locatedon the north eastern tip of the Dudley Peninsula, on the eastern end of theisland.

It contains the ferry terminal which brings most of the visitors to theisland, along with all the necessary freight to sustain the local population.

Parndana, in the centre of the island, is home to a population of around 150,however most of this population do not live in the town, they are sprawledwithin a few kilometres.

The historic area to the south-east of the township,known as the Research Centre to locals, was home to the research station thatwas set up in the 1940s and 1950s to research the viability of agriculture inthe area, and is still home to a small settlement of about 20 people.

American River, on the north coast between Kingscote and Penneshaw, is hometo about 220 residents.

Penneshaw, Parndana and American River each havebasic facilities, including a general store and fuel and all are home tohotels.

Facilities such as banking and large supermarkets are available inKingscote and Penneshaw, although all towns have EFTPOS facilities of somesort.

= Population =According to the 2011 Census, the island has a population of 4,417.

Populationgrowth has slowed in past years, with the attraction of mainland Australia foryounger adults being the key factor in this.

Censuses show the number ofresidents aged over 55 increased from 24.

1% in 2001 to 29.

8% in 2006 and 34.

9%in 2011.

= Agriculture =The economy is mostly agricultural.

Traditionally sheep grazing has been thekey element in agriculture on the Island, however in recent times, morediverse crops, such as potatoes and canola have been introduced.

Cattlefarming has grown as well, with good quality beef cattle being grown in thehigher rainfall areas.

Tourism and fishing also play significant roles,with the island experiencing over 186,000 visitors per annum, and some ofthe best southern rock lobster being sourced from the island's rugged southcoast.

Kangaroo Island has South Australia's only eucalyptus oildistillery with oil distilled from the endemic Kangaroo Island narrow leafmallee.

The future of over 19,000 hectares,which had been planted with blue gum for future harvesting is now in doubtfollowing the collapse of Great Southern Plantation Ltd in May 2009.

= Wine industry = The island has 30 wine growers and 12wineries.

The first vineyard was planted at Eastern Cove in 1976 and the firstwine made in 1982.

This was blended with Tolleys Barossa wine and sold from thecellar door of Eastern Cove Wine as KI-Barossa blend.

The Florance vineyardwas established under supervision of B.

Hayes of Eastern Cove, who produced itsfirst wine – Eastern Cove Cygnet – and introduced it at the University of SouthAustralia in 1990.

The wine carried a Kangaroo Island appellation label asfirst wine 100% of the region.

= Ligurian bees =Kangaroo Island is noted for its honey and its Ligurian honey bees.

The islandhas the world's only pure-bred and disease-free population of this type ofbee.

The exporting of pure-bred queen bees is a notable industry for theisland.

For this reason there are significant quarantine restrictions onbringing bee products and bee-handling equipment onto the island.

The Advertiser, 24 December 1883, reported "A few weeks since the Chamberof Manufactures forwarded an order to Mr.

Carroll, a bee master, nearBrisbane, for a swarm of Ligurian bees.

" The American Bee Journal, 25 November1885, stated "Several pure colonies were reared from this one, [the first hivefrom Queensland] and two of them were sent to Kangaroo Island, where theyappear to thrive well.

" An almost word perfect report in the British BeeJournal, 1 November 1885, added "They came from the apiary of Mr.

Chas.

Fullwood.

" Bonney quickly commenced queen beebreeding near Adelaide at his Upper Kensington apiary in January 1884.

Inthe South Australian Advertiser, 7 March 1884, Bonney stated "About three weeksago I divided the original colony, and the Chamber of Manufactures nowpossesses three good swarms of Ligurians; two of these will probably beready to send out towards the end of the month.

" And on 9 May 1884 "To show thatI think highly of the Ligurians, I may say that in March I imported two morecolonies from Queensland.

… During Easter holidays Mr Justice Boucaut tookone queen [bred and mated in Adelaide] in a full colony to Mr Buick, ofAmerican River, Kangaroo Island.

" From the South Australian Advertiser, 1August 1884 "On June 25 the original hive of Ligurian bees, imported by thechamber from Queensland, was sent safely to Mr Turner, at Smith's Bay, KangarooIsland.

" = Tourism =Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia's most popular touristattractions, attracting over 140,000 visitors each year, with internationalvisitors, primarily from Europe, accounting for more than 25% of thesevisits.

Some of the most popular tourist spots are:Seal Bay with ranger guided walks among basking Australian sea lions.

Flinders Chase National Park which includes Remarkable Rocks, Admiral'sArch, lighthouses at Cape Borda and Cape du Couedic, and multiple walking trailsand camping areas.

Cape WilloughbyKelly Hill Caves Little Sahara, huge sand dunes on thesouth coast.

the lookout Mount Thisby with a 360degree view around the island.

Murray Lagoon with its abundant aquaticbird life.

Parndana Wildlife ParkKangaroo Island Penguin Centre at Kingscote.

Raptor Domain The Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary koalawalk and Nocturnal tour offer visitors a chance to see the local wildlife.

A number of farms that sell honey from the Ligurian beesThe Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery which manufacturers eucalyptus oil usinga very old furnace = Local government =The Kangaroo Island Council provides local government for the entire island,and was formed in 1996 following amalgamation of the previous DistrictCouncils of Kingscote and Dudley.

Kangaroo Island is in the federalDivision of Mayo, represented by Jamie Briggs, and in the state Electoraldistrict of Finniss, represented by Michael Pengilly, a former mayor of theKangaroo Island Council.

A 2005 enquiry into the financialsustainability of local government in South Australia, determined thatKangaroo Island Council was unsustainable, due to its large landarea, extensive road network, low population and high tourism visitation.

A long term financial plan adopted by council includes a rate increase of 2%above CPI for the ten years from 2010.

On 13 May 2010 a new Development Planwas authorised, representing a comprehensive review of KangarooIsland's planning regulations.

= Lifestyle =Safe swimming is possible on the northern beaches, such as Emu Bay,Stokes Bay or Snellings Beach, and at Island Beach on the Dudley Peninsula.

The south coast has dangerous undertows and is more suitable for stronger andexperienced swimmers only.

Kangaroo Island has several organisedsporting competitions, including Australian rules football, cricket,darts, go kart racing, lawn bowls, netball, sailing, softball, squash andtennis.

Transport = Sea transport = Kangaroo Island is reliant on ferryservices for the majority of its transport to and from the mainland.

Ferry services are currently provided by Kangaroo Island SeaLink using twoferries, the Sealion 2000 and the Spirit of Kangaroo Island.

From 1907 to 1961, SS Karatta was the prime freight and passenger vesseloperating between Port Adelaide and Kingscote.

Following withdrawal from service of Karatta, RW.

Miller operated the MVTroubridge, in later years as a joint venture with the South AustralianGovernment.

Troubridge was a roll on, roll off vessel of 1,996 tons, whichused specially designed loading gantries at Port Adelaide, Port Lincoln andKingscote.

Troubridge operated until 1 June 1987,when it was replaced by the Government run A$23 million Island Seaway.

Builtlocally in Port Adelaide by Eglo Engineering, Island Seaway used the sameloading platforms as Troubridge.

Island Seaway was severely criticised as beingunsuitable for the Backstairs Passage crossing.

Seventy-five sheep and cattledied on the inaugural trip due to carbon monoxide poisoning, and the ship wasonce described as 'steering like a shopping trolley'.

The vesselsubsequently underwent a A$1 million refit of its propulsion system inSeptember 1989 which improved its reliability.

Island Seaway began to experience competition from Kangaroo Island SeaLinkwhich began services from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw in 1989.

SeaLink acquired theferry service originally introduced by Peter March.

His "Philanderer Ferries"pioneered the crossing from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw, with Philanderer 3 being apassenger and vehicle carrying catamaran style vessel.

During the 1980s, twopassenger only services, Hydroflite H33, and Islander, operated for a short timefrom Glenelg to Kingscote.

SeaLink has outlasted several competingcompanies since it began operations.

Boat Torque, a Western Australiancompany, operated Superflyte from 1994 until 1997, sailing from Glenelg toKingscote.

Kangaroo Island Ferries had a short-lived venture with SeaWay, whichtravelled from Wirrina Cove to Kingscote from September 2004 until February 2005.

SeaWay could not handle rough weather as well as SeaLink vessels which impactedthe service's reliability.

Under different proprietorship, SeaWayrecommenced services in August 2007.

However, in May 2008, the operator ofSeaWay announced suspension of services until October 2008, citing increasedfuel prices.

In June 2008 the SeaWay's operating company was placed inadministration and the vessel advertised for sale.

With the introduction by SeaLink of the Island Navigator, the fate of IslandSeaway was sealed, with the service subsequently withdrawn and SeaLinkdrawing on Government subsidies to operate all freight services to and fromthe Island.

SeaLink now holds a virtual monopoly on sea transport to KangarooIsland, primarily due to its long term lease of the Cape Jervis berth.

Sealink's agreement with the SA Government, expiring in 2024, precludesother operators from using the Cape Jervis facility for one hour before, andone hour after any scheduled SeaLink service.

Kangaroo Island residents haveexpressed displeasure with the exclusive arrangement granted to SeaLink.

= Air transport = Guinea Airways operated the firstcommercial service to Kangaroo Island, commencing in the 1930s.

In 1959, theairline was acquired by Airlines of South Australia, a subsidiary of AnsettAirlines.

The airline's final service was on 4 April 1986.

ASA primarilyoperated Convairs, Douglas DC-3 and Fokker F-27 aircraft.

A Piaggio P166 wasused infrequently in the 1970s, whilst Rossair operated Cessna 402s in anarrangement with ASA to replace the F27s in off-peak times.

Following the withdrawal of ASA, Kendell Airlines, operated 19-seat FairchildMetroliners and 34-seat SAAB aircraft to the Island.

Upon Ansett's ultimatedemise in 2002, Regional Express acquired the Kendell aircraft andcontinued services which are maintained today.

In competition with the larger aircraft, and generally with more flexibletimetables, a succession of smaller airlines from the 1970s tried withvarying success to maintain a 'second string' presence.

Island Air and Pagasoperated briefly in the 1970s, whilst the most successful, Emu Airways,commenced in 1980 and made its final flight in November 2005.

Emu flew PiperChieftain aircraft to Kingscote, American River, Penneshaw and Parndana,before air regulations dictated abandonment of all airstrips exceptKingscote.

Air Kangaroo Island, flew Cessna 402s to the Island during the1990s.

From 1986 to 1990, Lloyd Aviationoperated Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante aircraft, before flying the Short 330.

For several years during the 1980s, Commodore Airlines offered anotheralternative service.

QantasLink briefly operated a service after the demise ofEmu Airways, commencing 18 December 2005, but withdrew less than six monthslater.

QantasLink also operated direct flights from Kangaroo Island toMelbourne, the first time the route was operated.

In January 2007 Air South commenced four services daily using Titan nineseat aircraft, but ceased flights in October 2009.

Environment = Climate =The winters between June and September are mild and wet, the summers usuallywarm and dry.

Tempered by the ocean, particularly on the coastline, maximumtemperatures in summer rarely exceed 35 degrees Celsius.

Average temperatures in August range between 13 to 16 degrees and inFebruary, the hottest month, between 20 and 25 degrees.

Between May and September the island receives two-thirds of its annualrainfall, varying from 450 mm in Kingscote to around 900 mm near RooLagoon on the top of the central plateau.

The wettest month is July.

= Conservation = Nearly half of the island has never beencleared of vegetation, and a quarter of it is conserved in National Parks,Conservation Parks, and five Wilderness Protection Areas.

The main protectedareas are: Flinders Chase National ParkSeal Bay Conservation Park Cape Gantheaume Conservation ParkCape Bouguer Wilderness Protection Area Ravine des Casoars Wilderness ProtectionArea Because of its isolation from mainlandAustralia, foxes and rabbits are absent from and prohibited from entering theisland.

Registration and microchipping of cats is mandatory.

The KangarooIsland kangaroo, Rosenberg's sand goanna, southern brown bandicoot, tammarwallaby, common brushtail possum, short-beaked echidna and New Zealand furseal are native to the island, as well as six bat and frog species.

The soleendemic vertebrate species is a small marsupial carnivore called the KangarooIsland dunnart.

The koala, common ringtail possum and platypus have beenintroduced and still survive there.

The introduced koalas have flourished onthe island, to the degree that their preferred food source, the manna gum, isat risk of local extinction.

= Birds =An endemic species of emu, the Kangaroo Island emu, became extinct between 1802and 1836.

The island is the last South Australian refuge of an endangeredsubspecies of the glossy black cockatoo.

Kangaroo Island Important Bird Area Kangaroo Island has been identified by BirdLife International as an ImportantBird Area because it supports populations of the vulnerable fairytern, the near threatened bush stone-curlew, hooded plover and westernwhipbird, and the biome-restricted rock parrot and purple-gaped honeyeater.

Italso supports over 1% of the world populations of Cape Barren geese,black-faced cormorants, Pacific gulls and pied oystercatchers, and sometimesof musk ducks, blue-billed ducks, freckled ducks, Australian shelducks,chestnut teals and banded stilts.

Little penguin colonies Little penguin colonies at Penneshaw and Kingscote can be accessed by joiningguided nocturnal tours.

Both colonies are currently in decline.

Severalcolonies elsewhere on the island are believed to now be extinct, or containonly 'a few' birds.

Historic colonies on Kangaroo Island include Cape Gantheaume,Ravine des Casoars and Harvey's Return.

In 1950, Little penguins could be foundat Flinders Chase in 'thousands'.

Penguins were also present at Hanson Bayon the island's south coast in the 1950s.

The decline of penguinpopulations has prompted expanded monitoring regimes from 2011 to thepresent.

The 2013 Kangaroo Island little penguin census revealed that numbers haddecreased by 44 to 100 per cent at all surveyed colonies over the prior twoyears.

The census includes eight survey sites.

= Fires = Lightning strikes on Thursday 6 December2007 caused several fires on the Island.

Before being contained on 16 December2007, over 900 square kilometres had been burnt, principally within NationalPark and Conservation Reserves.

The most serious outbreak occurred inFlinders Chase, with 630 square kilometres having been burnt.

= Fossils = The northern coast of Kangaroo Islandcontains important fossil-bearing deposits, dating from the late LowerCambrian, such as the Emu Bay Shale.

A variety of primordial marine arthropodsleft their remains in this Burgess shale type preservation, but the larger grainsize of the Emu Bay rock means that the quality of preservation is lower.

A few genera of non-biomineralized arthropods, among them Squamacula,Kangacaris, and the megacheiran Tanglangia, are known only from the EmuBay Shale and Chengjiang.

The site is also the source of magnificent specimensof trilobites such as Redlichia takooensis, Emuella polymera,Balcoracania dailyi, Megapharanaspis nedini, Holyoakia simpsoni, andEstaingia bilobata.

Balcoracania and Emuella are the only known genera of thedistinctive Redlichiina family Emuellidae, known for possessing thegreatest number of thoracic segments known for Trilobita as a whole, and sofar entirely restricted to Australia and Antarctica.

The depositional environment of the majority of Burgess-Shale-typeassemblages is outer shelf, deeper water.

The Emu Bay Shale in contrast,appears to represent deposition in restricted basins on the inner shelf,indicating that soft tissue preservation occurred in a range of environmentalsettings during the Cambrian.

Some Emu Bay fossils display extensivemineralization of soft tissues, most often of blocky apatite or fibrouscalcium carbonate, including the oldest phosphatized muscle tissue – along withrecords from Sirius Passet in Greenland, the first thus far reported from theCambrian.

Mid-gut glands are preserved three-dimensionally in calcium phosphatein the arthropods Isoxys and Oestokerkus, as in related species fromthe Burgess Shale.

See also Proclamation Day List of islands of AustraliaWestern Kangaroo Island Commonwealth Marine ReserveSouthern Kangaroo Island Commonwealth Marine ReserveNotes and references External links Kangaroo Island – South Australian Tourism Commission siteABC Radio National, Hindsight program "Kangaroo Island unearthed" broadcast 22February 2004 Kangaroo Island travel guide fromWikivoyage Online guide to Kangaroo Island birdwildlife and vertebrates wildlife.

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