Wedge Island (South Australia)
Wedge Island is a partly privately owned island, with an area of about 10 km2, in south-eastern Australia. It is the largest of the small Gambier Islands Group lying between the southern tips of the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas in South Australia at the entrance to Spencer Gulf.
There is a lighthouse at the south-eastern end, and highest point, of the island. There is an airstrip on the island as well as a jetty. The island is not permanently inhabited, but has buildings used for holiday accommodation and as a base for local and offshore recreational fishing. It is also a dive site.
The endangered Brush-tailed Bettong has been introduced to the island. The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports over 1% of the world population, with up to about 16,000 breeding pairs, of white-faced storm-petrels.
An account of the wildlife on Wedge Island from 1928 reads:
"The penguins were busy with their half-grown youngsters, and after dark the night echoed to their weird and ghostlike cries. Quail were plentiful among the grass paddocks and flew up almost from beneath our feet, while high above our heads a pair of wedge-tailed eagles wheeled and circled then planed slowly down to alight upon a lone pinnacle of the rocky western coast."
Wedge Island was named in 1802 by Matthew Flinders. It was originally settled in the mid-19th century as a farm for breeding horses for the British Indian Army, with various agricultural activities such sheep and cattle grazing and wheat cropping continuing for the next 130 years. During World War II, Wedge Island was used as a radar station by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). A bunker was constructed near the lighthouse and was occupied by about 40 RAAF personnel for several years.
- Kennedy, Michael. (1992). Australasian Marsupials and Monotremes: An Action Plan for Their Conservation. IUCN. ISBN 978-2-8317-0052-6. p.82.
- "IBA: Wedge Island". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
- "ISLANDS OF REMEMBRANCE. In Flinders' Track. Cruise of the Avocet." The Register, South Australia (1928-01-21). Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Romance of South Australian Islands. Outposts of the State. Historical Links and Gems of Nature." The Mail, South Australia (1924-06-14). Retrieved 2014-03-14.
- Wiebkin, A. S. (2011) Conservation management priorities for little penguin populations in Gulf St Vincent. Report to Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2011/000188-1. SARDI Research Report Series No.588. 97pp.
- Robinson, A. C.; Canty, P., Mooney, T. and Rudduck, P. (1996). "South Australia's offshore islands" (PDF). Australian Heritage Commission. p. 126. Retrieved 13 December 2013.