Bruny Island

Coordinates: 43°22′S 147°17′E / 43.367°S 147.283°E / -43.367; 147.283
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Native name:
Lunawanna Allonah
Location of the Bruny Island in Tasmania
EtymologyBruni d'Entrecasteaux
LocationTasman Sea
Coordinates43°22′S 147°17′E / 43.367°S 147.283°E / -43.367; 147.283
Total islands2
Area362 km2 (140 sq mi)[1]
Highest elevation571 m (1873 ft)
Highest pointMount Mangana
LGAKingborough Council
Pop. density1.6/km2 (4.1/sq mi)
Additional information

Bruny Island (Nuenonne: Lunawanna-alonnah[2]) is a 362-square-kilometre (140 sq mi) island located off the southeastern coast of Tasmania, Australia. The island is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, and its east coast lies within the Tasman Sea. Located to the island's northeast Storm Bay, is the river mouth to the Derwent River estuary, and serves as the main port of Hobart, Tasmania's capital city. Both the island and the channel are named after French explorer, Antoine Bruni d'Entrecasteaux. Its traditional Aboriginal name is lunawanna-allonah, which survives as the name of two island settlements, Alonnah and Lunawanna.


Geologically, Bruny Island actually consists of two land masses—North Bruny and South Bruny—that are joined by a long, narrow, sandy isthmus, often referred to as "The Neck". The island has a total length of approximately 50 kilometres (30 miles). The holiday village of Dennes Point is located in North Bruny, while South Bruny is the site of the towns of Alonnah, Adventure Bay, and Lunawanna.

Aerial perspective of the isthmus of Bruny Island, looking north

Outside its settlements, the island is covered with grazing fields and large tracts of dry eucalyptus forest. Inland forests have been logged, but other large sections—mostly along the southeastern coast—are preserved as the South Bruny National Park. While the seaward side of the island features two long beaches—Adventure Bay and Cloudy Bay—it is for the most part extremely rugged, with cliffs of dolerite over 200 metres (660 ft) AHD  in altitude. Bruny's channel side is more sheltered and a favourite fishing and recreational boating area for local and interstate visitors. Adventure Bay is located on the eastern side of the isthmus, while Isthmus Bay is located on the western side.[3]

Access to the island is by vehicular ferry, funded by the State Government. Since 1954, four vessels have operated the Bruny Island Ferry service between the island and Kettering on the mainland. The service currently uses the vessel, Mirambeena, which is plied by a Voith-Schneider propulsion system rather than a conventional propeller. There is a public Airfield, Bruny Island Airport located on North Bruny, just north of The Neck, however the small runway is mostly suited to small planes, and there are no scheduled flights.

The d'Entrecastaux Channel region, sheltered by Bruny Island, is increasingly subject to foreshore erosion. Some areas have begun sandbagging to reduce the effects.[4]


Bruny Island was originally inhabited by Aboriginal Tasmanians, and there is still a large community of people living on the island who identify as Aboriginal. Abel Tasman was the first recorded European to sight the island in November 1642.[5]

On 11 March 1773, Tobias Furneaux was the first British explorer to reach the island, and anchored at Adventure Bay (named after his ship) for four days;[6] four years later on 26 January 1777 James Cook's two ships, the Resolution and Discovery stayed in the bay area for two days. Cook carved his initials in a tree that was destroyed in a 1905 bushfire and is now commemorated by a plaque. In 1788 and again in 1792 (with Matthew Flinders), William Bligh stayed in the Adventure Bay area.

The island itself, however, is named after the French explorer Bruni d'Entrecasteaux, who explored the Channel region and discovered it to be an island in 1792.[7] It was known as Bruni Island until 1918, when the spelling was changed to Bruny.

Whaling was conducted off the coast of Bruny Island in the first half of the 19th century. The British whaler, Alexander, was reported to be whaling in Adventure Bay in 1804.[8] In 1805, the British whalers Richard and Mary, Ocean and the Sydney whaler King George were reported there in the winter months. The American whaler Topaz was there in 1807. Colonial entrepreneurs also operated shore-based whaling stations there. Bethune and Kelly had a station operating in Adventure Bay by August 1826.[9] Kelly and Lucas had another at Bull Bay. Young and Walford had one at Trumpeter Bay. Alexander Imlay applied for a site as a whaling station at Cloudy Bay in 1837, and Brown and Rogers did the same in 1842.[10] These stations had all ceased operating by 1850, although whaling vessels sometimes anchored offshore in the second half of the century.[11]

Even though "Cooktown"[citation needed] was marked on maps as early as the 1840s, the island was not officially opened up to European settlement until the late 1800s when the timber industry took off. South Bruny was opened up by numerous tramways and haulages, some horse-drawn and some using modified locomotives. The longest and best-preserved tramway runs from Adventure Bay to the far southeast corner of the island. Almost all settlements on South Bruny were originally opened as timber ports, owned by the different timber companies operating on the island. Lunawanna (formerly Daniels Bay), Alonnah (formerly Mills Reef) and Adventure Bay were some of the largest ports operating on the island. At Daniels Bay, the settlement was separated from the timber jetty as the tramway was forced to trace along the south side of the bay in order to reach deep water, as most of Daniels Bay was too shallow to bring boats in. Most settlements of South Bruny now serve as shack towns or holiday locations.

Since the 1920s, the island has become known as a holiday location with surfing beaches, National Parks and historical sites. In more recent history the Bruny Island was the site of a land transfer by the state government to local Aboriginal people.[12]


Bruny Island is classified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports the world's largest population of the endangered forty-spotted pardalote, up to a third of the world population of the swift parrot, all 12 of Tasmania's endemic bird species, and up to 240,000 breeding pairs of the short-tailed shearwater (or Tasmanian muttonbird).[13] In March 2021, awareness increased concerning the feral cat population on the island, which had been steadily growing over the last decade. Local residents opened an inquiry into the sudden large number of feral cats, concerned this spike in numbers may have adverse affects on the environment and wildlife. Initial findings suggest the feral cats migrated from the Eastern Shore of Tasmania, namely the Howrah/Tranmere region.

An alternative view taken by some wildlife ecologists[14] is that cats are a naturalized alien species in much of Australia, and the best approach available at present to conserve species on which they predate is to ensure adequately large and intact habitats. Invasive cats may be eradicated on small islands, but some believe complete eradication is impractical at present on islands the size of Bruny.[citation needed] Control methodologies alternative to complete eradication are currently being investigated.

Multiple vegetation types are seen across the island, including wet sclerophyll forest, coastal healthland and dry sclerophyll forests.[citation needed]


A key contributor to Bruny Island's economy is its growing tourism industry. Being home to the South Bruny National Park, tourism on the island centres on the showcase of its natural assets.[15][16]

The Cape Bruny Lighthouse, first lit in 1838, is an iconic Australian lighthouse. It was the third lighthouse built in Tasmania, and the fourth in all of Australia,[17] and was the longest continuously staffed lighthouse in the country until it was automated in 1993.[18] It was removed from service in 1996, and became part of the South Bruny National Park in 2000. Guided tours of the structure are available.[17]

In 2010/11, overall visitors to Bruny Island increased 4% to 74,600.[19] The island is primarily a day-trip destination with only 21,800 visitors staying on the island overnight.[20] There are a growing number of tourism businesses on the island including a cheese factory, oyster farm, vineyard, smoke-house, lighthouse, museum, art gallery, two eco-cruises along with various accommodation properties and cafes.[21]


Bruny Island is divided into eleven bounded localities. The two largest by area are North Bruny and South Bruny which consist of national park, state forest and some grazing areas and do not have postcodes.

On North Bruny there are five populated coastal enclaves: Apollo Bay, Barnes Bay, Dennes Point, Great Bay and Killora. On South Bruny there are four: Adventure Bay, Alonnah, Lunawanna and Simpsons Bay.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bruny Island". Britannica Online. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
  2. ^ Gibbons, Ray (2016), "Introduction", The Political and Economic Uses of Tasmanian Genocide - the targeted destruction of the Palawa, vol. 1
  3. ^ "Tasmanian Nomenclature: The Place-Names of the State: A Record of Origins and Dates". The Mercury. 16 September 1911. p. 10. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  4. ^ Flora Fox, Flora Fox, News and Information about Southern Tasmania Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine 2011
  5. ^ "Bruny Island | island, Tasmania, Australia | Britannica". Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  6. ^ Sprod, Dan. "Furneaux, Tobias (1735–1781)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  7. ^ Giblin, R. W. (1928). The early history of Tasmania.
  8. ^ Nicholson, Ian Hawkins (1983). Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Tasmania, 1803-1833 (First ed.). Canberra: Roebuck. p. 14. ISBN 0909434220.
  9. ^ Evans, Kathryn (1993). Site Histories. Shore-based whaling in Tasmania historical research project. Vol. 2. Hobart: Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. pp. 11–12. OCLC 224493764.
  10. ^ Evans 1993, p. 17
  11. ^ Evans 1993, p. 12
  12. ^ Elder, Bruce (13 February 1999). "Rock of Ages". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  13. ^ "IBA: Bruny Island". Birdata. Birds Australia. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia" (PDF). The Australian Mammal Society. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Statistics - Tasmania,2002". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
  16. ^ "Tas Country Hour Feature Stories". ABC Rural Online. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
  17. ^ a b "Cape Bruny Lighthouse". Parks & Wildlife Tasmania. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Cape Bruny Lighthouse History". Cape Bruny Lighthouse Tours. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Places Visited, Tasmanian Tourism Visitor Survey June 2011". Tourism Tasmania. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Places Stayed Overnight, Tasmanian Tourism Visitor Survey June 2011". Tourism Tasmania. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  21. ^ Kelly, Chris (31 October 2020). "What To Do on Bruny Island: The Day Trip". Hunter and Bligh. Retrieved 3 December 2020.

External links[edit]