Wedge Island (Western Australia)
Wedge Island is located north of Lancelin and South of Cervantes on the Western Australian coast. The name mainly refers to the mainland settlement but also refers to a 400 metres (1,300 ft) long wedge shaped island located just south of "the point". The island itself is a declared nature reserve. The settlement of Grey is about 15 km. north-west. Both are within the Shire of Dandaragan.
One of the first pioneers of the settlement was Mr. W.R. (Bob) Wedge in 1937. The settlement is now home to approximately 350 beach shacks on unvested land that are used by crayfishermen and holiday-goers. A new sealed road, Indian Ocean Drive, was opened in September 2010, and there are claims that this has changed the local environment.
Wedge can also be accessed via bush tracks and the beach if the tide is out. The inland tracks are on a military firing range and are cut off to the public during live firing. The beach is very soft during summer and many vehicles become bogged or are swept into the water.
Wedge is often quiet during the cooler months but during major public holidays such as Christmas, New Years Day and Australia Day there are people in nearly every shack. Camping in the area is now officially prohibited. It is estimated that 14,000 individuals may use the shacks at Wedge and Grey. There are no shops, mains electricity nor running water, so generators are common. Activities include four wheel driving, sand boarding, surfing and kitesurfing, fishing, swimming and snorkeling. Motorbike riding has been banned in the area surrounding Wedge Island after many accidents resulted in people needing to be air lifted to get medical attention. The ranger now hands out fines to those caught using unlicensed vehicles in the vicinity, or leaving rubbish there.
A man was fatally stabbed during a beach party on the north of Wedge in December 2013, after a brawl broke out. The New Year's party allegedly involved more than 600 people.
The WA Government has considered the removal of the shacks on Wedge in line with government policy. in March 2010, the then Minister for Environment Donna Faragher announced that she would not be seeking an end to the leases at Wedge and Grey until compromise options were considered by government. In April 2011, a WA Legislative Council Standing Committee found that coastal shacks should be removed to protect the environment from "unplanned growth". The shack leases were due to expire on 30 June 2011 but the Wedge community won a one year renewal for all occupied facilities.
- Slideshow of images of Wedge Island from the BBC World Service
- Geoscience Gazetteer of Australia
- Wedge Island Community page
- Wedge Island Information Page
- Wedge and Grey Master Plan 2000
- Radio National - Wedge Island documentary and comments
- Environment and Public Affairs Committee : Inquiry into Shack Sites in WA