According to a story from the Bundjalung people, a jealous husband threw his spear at the canoe of his wife and her lover. The canoe broke in two and sank to the bottom of the ocean. Only the back and the front of the boat stuck out of the water.
The islands were named by Captain Cook when he passed through the area in 1770, naming the two main peaks after his nephew and niece, Juan and Julia.
In 1982, after pressure from locals, the area surrounding the rocks was established as a marine reserve, with all fishing and commercial exploitation banned for a 500m range around the rocks. The area is home to large numbers of marine species, including leopard sharks, grey nurse sharks, wobbegong, a variety of nudibranchs. It's one of about a dozen critical habitats for the grey nurse shark in NSW. Scuba divers identify the site as one of the top sites in Australia for its wide variety of marine life.
From May to September, humpback whales are commonly spotted travelling between the rocks and the mainland and are a common sighting on the short boat trip between the mainland and the rocks.
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