Brush Island is an island nature reserve lying off the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. It lies about 2 km south-east of the coastal village of Bawley Point. It has an unmanned lighthouse. The island was made a nature reserve in 1963 and is important for breeding seabirds. It is listed on Australia’s Register of the National Estate.
The 47 ha island lies 350 m from the tip of Murramarang Point. It is 880 m long, with a maximum width of 560 m, and rises to about 30 m above sea level. Its shorelines are steep, rocky cliff faces with erosion gullies on the northern side. The gullies are both caused and used by the Little Penguins whose tracks and burrows cover most of the island.
The island was sighted by Captain James Cook on April 22, 1770 during his first voyage to the Pacific. Cook had planned to shelter his ship Endeavour between the unnamed island and mainland but was prevented by high seas. Instead Endeavour continued its northward path along the coast, making its first Australian landfall a week later at Botany Bay.
Flora and fauna
The island supports a coastal vegetation cover of herbs, low shrubs and stunted trees, including Carpobrotus glaucescens, Lomandra longifolia, Einadia hastata, Myoporum insulare, Enchylaena tomentosa, Acacia longifolia, Westringia fruticosa, Banksia integrifolia and Casuarina glauca.
Seabird species nesting on the island include the Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Little Penguin and Sooty Oystercatcher. White-faced Storm-petrels and Sooty Shearwaters were found there for the first time in 2008.
The island became infested with Black Rats in 1932 after a steamer, the Northern Firth, ran aground there. In 2005 the rats were eradicated after a poisoning campaign by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
- Anon (2002).
- Australian Heritage Database.
- Beaglehole 1968, p. 304
- Woodford (2008).
- Beaglehole, J.C., ed. (1968). The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery, vol. I:The Voyage of the Endeavour 1768–1771. Cambridge University Press. p. 304. OCLC 223185477.
- Anon (2002). Murramarang National Park, Brush Island Nature Reserve, Belowla Island Nature Reserve and Tollgate Islands Nature Reserve: Plan of Management. Sydney: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. ISBN 0-7310-0860-X.
- "Brush Island Nature Reserve". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Australia. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
- Woodford, James (2008-11-15). "Rat race is over - now it's gone to the birds". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011-06-21.