Granite Island (South Australia)

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Granite Island
Granite Island (South Australia) is located in South Australia
Granite Island (South Australia)
Location Encounter Bay
Boulders at sunset on Granite Island

Granite Island, also known by the Ramindjeri people as Nulcoowarra,[1] is a small island next to Victor Harbor, South Australia, not far from South Australia's capital city, Adelaide. Although there are no permanent residents, there are buildings and shelters on the island, including a cafe. It is a popular tourist attraction, particularly for people wishing to see little penguins (commonly called "fairy penguins") which live there.

Horse-drawn tram on causeway between Granite Island and Victor Harbor

The island is accessible across a causeway from the mainland, either on foot or by catching an antique horse-drawn tram.

Little penguin decline[edit]

Granite Island's little penguin colony has declined dramatically since the 1990s. A count conducted in October 2013 totalled 38 penguins. In 2001, the population count was 1,548 penguins.[2][3] In 2013 the decline prompted the mayor of Victor Harbor, Graham Philp, to commence a fundraising drive to gather funds for research into the genetics of the population and the causes of the decline. Speculation abounds regarding the cause of the decline, with possible factors including New Zealand fur seal predation and overfishing.[4] Flinders University intends to establish a centre at which animals can be captively studied, bred and potentially released back to the wild.[3]

Similarly dramatic declines have been noted nearby at West Island and at colonies across Backstairs Passage on Kangaroo Island, including closely monitored populations at Penneshaw and Kingscote. The nearest little penguin colony to Granite Island is on Wright Island which lies between it and The Bluff. As of June 2011, its status is unknown.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Mail" (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), Saturday 18 December 1926, Page 8 of 40
  2. ^ "More penguins found in Granite Island count" ABC News (2013-10-22). Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  3. ^ a b Hegarty, Adam "Granite Island penguins face extinction" The Advertiser, South Australia (2013-06-01). Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  4. ^ Simmons, Michael "Little penguins face extinction" Victor Harbor Times (2013-01-31). Retrieved 2014-01-20.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°33′S 138°37′E / 35.550°S 138.617°E / -35.550; 138.617