Northumberland Islands

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Australia's Northumberland Islands are a scattered island chain off the Queensland coast, located south-east of the city of Mackay roughly between the latitudes 21°S and 22°S. All islands are of the continental type. The island group was named by James Cook during his historic voyage along Australia's eastern seaboard in 1770, after the First Duke of Northumberland, Hugh Percy [1]. Both Cook and Matthew Flinders make note of the island group in their journals, Cook describing them as such:

As soon as we got round the Cape [Cape Townshend] we hauld our wind to the Westward in order to get within the Islands which lay scatter'd up and down in this bay [Shoalwater Bay] in great number, and extend out to Sea as far as we could see from the Masthead; how much farther will hardly be in my power to determine; they are as Various in their height and Circuit as they are numerous. [2]

The island group is remote, and apart from charter flights to Marble Island accessible only by private yacht.

The Northumberland Islands are further subdivided into smaller groups: the Bedwell Group, Beverley Group, Broad Sound Islands, Duke Islands, Flat Isles, Guardfish Cluster and Percy Group. The islands are listed below, with the geographical coordinates of the largest islands given. Only the major islands of each group are listed.

Bedwell Group[edit]

Name origin: Staff Commander E. P. Bedwell, surveyor [3]

Beverley Group[edit]

Name origin: Unknown [4]

Broad Sound Islands[edit]

Name origin: Situated at the mouth of Broad Sound, a vast inlet named by Cook in 1770 [5]

Duke Islands[edit]

Name origin: Unknown [6]

Flat Isles[edit]

Name origin: Named by Flinders in 1802 due to their height [7] - Avoid Island is the highest at 33 metres above sea level

Guardfish Cluster[edit]

Name origin: Unknown [8]

Percy Isles[edit]

Name origin: Named by Flinders in 1802 after the Duke of Northumberland's family name [9]

External links[edit]