Melville Island (Australia)

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Melville
Native name: Tiwi languageYermalner
Australia Melville Island.png
Tiwi Islands
Melville Island (Australia) is located in Northern Territory
Melville Island (Australia)
Melville Island (Northern Territory of Australia)
Geography
Location Timor Sea
Coordinates 11°33′S 130°56′E / 11.550°S 130.933°E / -11.550; 130.933
Archipelago Tiwi Islands
Major islands Melville, Irrititu
Area 5,786 km2 (2,234 sq mi)
Country
Australia
Territory  Northern Territory
Largest city Milikapiti (pop. 559)
Demographics
Population ca. 1030
Ethnic groups Tiwi

Melville Island known in the Tiwi language as Yermalner lies in the eastern Timor Sea, off the coast of the Northern Territory, Australia. It is west of the Cobourg Peninsula in Arnhem Land and north of Darwin.

The largest community/town on the island is Milikapiti, pop. 559. The second village is Pirlangimpi (Pularumpi, formerly Garden Point), pop. 440, 27 km west of Milipakpiti, on the west coast of Melville Island. About 30 more people live in five family outstations.

At 5,786 square kilometres (2,234 sq mi) it is just outside the 100 largest islands in the world, but is the second biggest island in Australia, after Tasmania (and excluding the continental landmass). It is also known in the Tiwi language as Yermalner. Only 55 metres (180 ft) south of its southern tip is Irrititu Island, with an area of 1.60 square kilometres (0.62 sq mi).[1]

Together, Melville Island and Bathurst Island are known as the Tiwi Islands.

It is said that the first European to sight the island was Abel Tasman in 1644, although this is now disputed. Melville Island's most likely first European discovery was probably made by the Portuguese, as Aborigines encountered by the explorer Phillip Parker King (son of governor of New South Wales Philip Gidley King) in 1818, were found to know some Portuguese words.[citation needed]

King named it for Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, first lord of the Admiralty, who is also commemorated by the much larger Melville Island in the Canadian arctic. Shortly after this, the British made the first attempt to settle Australia's north coast, at the short-lived Fort Dundas.

The climate is tropical.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ John Woinarski, Brooke Rankmore, Alaric Fisher, Kym Brennan and Damian Milne (December 1997). "The natural occurrence of northern quolls Dasyurus hallucatus on islands of the Northern Territory: assessment of refuges from the threat posed by cane toads Bufo marinus.". Australian Government and Northern Territory Government. p. 16. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 

Coordinates: 11°33′S 130°56′E / 11.550°S 130.933°E / -11.550; 130.933