The Pages is a group consisting of two small islands and a reef lying in Backstairs Passage, a strait separating Kangaroo Island and the Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia. The group is protected by designation as The Pages Conservation Park.
The islands were known to the indigenous Kaurna people as Metalong. They were named “The Pages” by Matthew Flinders on 7 April 1802 from their fancied resemblance to pages guarding their strategic position at the eastern entrance to the strait.
Geologically, The Pages are constituted of phyllites of the Brukunga Formation, formed from metamorphosed Cambrian sedimentary rocks. The two main islands, lying about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) apart, are similar in size; North Page is 400 metres (1,300 ft) long, 200 metres (660 ft) wide and 24 metres (79 ft) high, and South Page 450 metres (1,480 ft) long, 170 metres (560 ft) wide and 20 metres (66 ft)high. The reef, south-west of South Page, comprises two adjacent wave-washed islets, rising 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) or so above sea level, with a combined length of 380 metres (1,250 ft). The islands are rugged; they contain no beaches and access by sea is difficult. There is a navigational aid on the top of South Page Island.
Flora and fauna
Small pockets of soil on the tops of the islands support patches of vegetation. Recorded plants include variable groundsel, bulbine lily, round-leaved pigface, ruby saltbush and an Atriplex saltbush. Silver gulls breed on the islands, which also support a breeding colony of Australian sea lions.
Protected area status
The Pages has enjoyed protected area status since 6 May 1900 starting with declaration as part of a Bird Protection District under the Birds Protection Act 1900 followed by declaration as a closed area under the Animals and Birds Protection Act 1919-1938 in 1955, proclamation as a Fauna Reserve under the Fauna Conservation Act 1964-1965 in 1966, proclamation as a Fauna Conservation Reserve under the Crown Lands Act 1929-1967 in 1967, and concluding with proclamation as The Pages Conservation Park following the enactment of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 in 1972.
- Island conservation parks of Backstairs Passage and Encounter Bay management plans (PDF). Adelaide: National Parks and Wildlife Service. 1983. ISBN 0-7243-4588-4.
- Flinders, Matthew (1966) . A Voyage to Terra Australis : undertaken for the purpose of completing the discovery of that vast country, and prosecuted in the years 1801, 1802, and 1803 in His Majesty's ship the Investigator, and subsequently in the armed vessel Porpoise and Cumberland Schooner; with an account of the shipwreck of the Porpoise, arrival of the Cumberland at Mauritius, and imprisonment of the commander during six years and a half in that island. (Facsimile ed.). Adelaide; Facsimile reprint of: London : G. and W. Nicol, 1814 ed. In two volumes, with an Atlas (3 volumes): Libraries Board of South Australia. p. 2262. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
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