Three Hummock Island

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For the Northern Territory islands, see Three Hummocks Islands.
Three Hummock Island
Australia Tasmania location map Three Hummock Island.png
Three Hummock Island (Tasmania)
Coordinates 40°24′S 144°57′E / 40.400°S 144.950°E / -40.400; 144.950Coordinates: 40°24′S 144°57′E / 40.400°S 144.950°E / -40.400; 144.950
Area 70 km2 (27 sq mi)
State Tasmania
Three Hummock Island is shown in the lower left on the map, in the Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria.

Three Hummock Island is an island with an area of 70 km2 (27 sq mi) and a high point 237 m (778 ft) above sea-level, in Bass Strait, south-eastern Australia. It is part of Tasmania’s Hunter Island Group which lies between north-west Tasmania and King Island. The island is named after its three most prominent hills, North, Middle and South Hummock, the latter being the highest. It is located near Hunter Island near the north-west coast of Tasmania. Part of the island is a nature reserve, with the rest a pastoral lease where farming took place from the mid-1800s to at least the mid-1970s. The focus of human settlement on the island is the homestead at Chimney Corner at the westernmost point. There is an automated lighthouse at Cape Rochon in the north-east, as well as roads, three airstrips, fencing and a wharf. Seasonal muttonbirding occurs in March and April.[1]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Much of the island is composed of dense scrub dominated by Leptospermum scoparium, Melaleuca ericifolia and Banksia marginata, while 25% of the area is covered by Eucalyptus nitida woodland.[1]

The island forms part of the Hunter Island Group Important Bird Area.[2] Breeding seabirds and shorebirds include little penguin, short-tailed shearwater, Pacific gull, pied oystercatcher, sooty oystercatcher and hooded plover. Mammals include the introduced eastern grey kangaroo, feral cat and house mouse. Feral sheep were recorded in a 1999 survey. Tiger snakes are also present.[1]

Nichols family[edit]

Bill and Amelia ("Ma") Nichols leased Three Hummock Island from 1933 till 1950, and grazed cattle and sheep. They were also involved in fishing and muttonbirding. Over the years they owned several ships including Lady Jean, Lady Flinders, and Jean Nichols which were used to carry cargo and passengers to and from the Bass Strait islands and to Melbourne and Launceston. They built up a small community of workers on the island, including some of their relations. One of these workers was Peggy Puckett, from Stanley. Her story is told in A Walk Along the Shore [3] in which she describes life on the island with the Nichols family during the six years she lived with them from 1937 to 1943. Mrs Nichols named Peg's Paddock after her, mentioned in both A Walk Along the Shore and Eleanor Alliston's Escape to An Island.

The Nicols family left the island in 1950 and the Alliston family arrived in 1951.

Alliston family[edit]

Author Eleanor Alliston wrote two books about the life of her family on Three Hummock Island:

  • Escape to an Island
  • Island Affair

The two books tell the story of how the Allistons emigrated from England after the end of World War II to start a new life alone on the island in the hope of providing a better and different childhood for their children. The books have much between the lines left to readers' imaginations. The second book ends in 1984, the island having a population of two—the author and her husband; their four children, who were brought up on the island, having left it, married with families and having a total of ten grandchildren.

In the 1990s one of the Alliston children, Rob, returned to the island to run a tourist venture.

The Alliston family sold the lease in 2006. The island now operates as an eco-tourism resort with accommodation for up 18 people managed by John and Beverley O’Brien.

The book Island Affair contains mention of Giuseppe Garibaldi's visit to the island in 1852 while in exile from Italy as a captain of the trading vessel Carmen.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c Brothers, Nigel; Pemberton, David; Pryor, Helen; & Halley, Vanessa. (2001). Tasmania’s Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart. ISBN 0-7246-4816-X
  2. ^ BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hunter Island Group. Downloaded from on 09/07/2011.
  3. ^ A Walk Along the Shore (Jenny Pearce)
  4. ^ 1852-53 - As a "citizen of Peru," he captains a clipper to the far east, returning to Lima via Australia and New Zealand. - Life and Times of Giuseppe Garibaldi - The Reformation Online
  5. ^ Full text of "Autobiography of Giuseppe Garibaldi" "we parsed through Bass's Strait, between Australia and Van Diemen's Land. Touching at one of the Hunter lslands, to take in water, we found small farm, lately deserted by an Englishman and his wife, on the death of his partner. Thus information we obtained from a board erected on the settler's grave, which set forth in brief the history of the little colony. " The husband and wife," said the inscription, " unable to bear the loneliness of the desert island, left it, and returned to Van Diemen." - The Internet Archive

External links[edit]