Great Sandy Strait

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Great Sandy Strait
Great Sandy Strait is located in Queensland
Great Sandy Strait
Great Sandy Strait
Coordinates25°32′30″S 152°55′30″E / 25.5416°S 152.925°E / -25.5416; 152.925Coordinates: 25°32′30″S 152°55′30″E / 25.5416°S 152.925°E / -25.5416; 152.925
Population4 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density0.0065/km2 (0.0169/sq mi)
Area613.2 km2 (236.8 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s)Fraser Coast Region
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s)
Suburbs around Great Sandy Strait:
River Heads
Susan River
Hervey Bay Fraser Island
Beaver Rock
The Dimonds
Great Sandy Strait Fraser Island
Boonooroo Plains
Tuan Forest
Tuan Forest
Tin Can Bay
Fraser Island
Official nameGreat Sandy Strait
Designated14 June 1999
Reference no.992[2]
Map of Hervey Bay and surrounds
Great Sandy Strait from orbit

The Great Sandy Strait is a strait in the Australian state of Queensland of 70 kilometres (43 mi) length which separates mainland Queensland from the World Heritage listed Fraser Island. It is also a locality in the Fraser Coast Region local government area.[3] In the 2016 census, Great Sandy Strait had a population of 4 people.[1]


The Great Sandy Strait extends south from Hervey Bay to Inskip Point. The Mary River enters the strait at River Heads. It covers an area of 932 square kilometres (360 sq mi).[4] Tourism and commercial fishing are the two main industries that are active within the Strait. Boating and fishing are also pursued for recreation.[5] Each year in June the Bay to Bay yacht race is sailed on the Great Sandy Strait.

There are numerous named and unnamed islands in the strait. The named island are from north to south: Big Woody Island, Round Island, Little Woody Island, Picnic Island, Duck Island, Walsh Island, Turkey Island, Bookar Island, Thomas Island, Slain Island, Tooth Island, Round Bush Island, New Island, Garden Island, Dream Island, and Stewart Island.[6] Most of the island are low and sandy in character. Only a few have significant elevations, e.g. Big Woody Island rises to 50 metres (160 ft) above sea level.[6]


In July and August 1799 Matthew Flinders chartered the coast from Moreton Bay to Hervey Bay in the Norfolk.[7][8] Although he established that Fraser Island was not a peninsula (as was then believed) but an island, he failed to find a navigable channel through the Great Sandy Strait. His explorations of the area is commemorated by a monument called Matthew Flinders Lookout at the top of an escarpment facing the bay in Dayman Park, Urangan (25°17′21″S 152°54′29″E / 25.2893°S 152.9080°E / -25.2893; 152.9080 (Matthew Flinder's Lookout)).[9]

Lieutenant Joseph Dayman was the first to navigate through the Great Sandy Strait on 10 November 1846 in a small decked boat called the Asp. It had been intended that Dayman rendezvous with HMS Rattlesnake but that ship had already departed. Dayman decided it was safer to take the Asp through the Great Sandy Strait rather than risk taking the route to the ocean side of the Fraser Island as he was concerned about the Breakpoint Spit at the north of Fraser Island.[9]


A complex landscape of mangroves, sandbanks, intertidal sand, mud islands, salt marshes and seagrass beds, the Strait is an important habitat for breeding fish, crustaceans, dugongs, dolphins and marine turtles. On Whalesong Cruises, view the migrating humpback whales use the calms waters of the strait to rest for a few days between July and November.[10] An analysis of commercial catch data in the area between 1988 and 2003 revealed a significant reduction in fish stock.[11] The campaign against the Traveston Crossing Dam included claims the dam would have a significant environmental impact on the Great Sandy Strait.[12] It is located within the boundaries of the Great Sandy Marine Park[13] and adjoins other protected areas within or adjacent to the Strait include Great Sandy National Park, Poona National Park and Great Sandy Conservation Park.[citation needed]


Great Sandy Strait is an important site for eastern curlews

The lower part of Great Sandy Strait was listed under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international significance in 1999. The area is also an important roosting site for CAMBA and JAMBA listed species. Some 806 km2 of the strait has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports about 120,000 non-breeding waders, including over 1% of the global populations of bar-tailed godwits, eastern curlews, great knots, grey-tailed tattlers, lesser sand plovers, pied oystercatchers, red-necked stints and red-capped plovers, as well as small numbers of the range-restricted mangrove honeyeater.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Great Sandy Strait (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Great Sandy Strait". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Great Sandy Strait - locality in Fraser Coast Region (entry 47393)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Great Sandy Strait (including Great Sandy Strait, Tin Can Bay, and Tin Can Inlet)". Ramsar Sites Database. Wetlands International. 1999. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Great Sandy Strait". Queensland Holidays. Tourism Queensland. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  7. ^ A Voyage to Terra Australis, with an accompanying Atlas. 2 vol. – London : G & W Nicol, 18. July 1814.
  8. ^ The Early History of Tasmania, R.W.Giblin 1928
  9. ^ a b "Matthew Flinders Lookout, Dayman Park, Urangan, Hervey Bay, QLD". POI Australia. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Great Sandy Strait - Hervey Bay Area, Hervey Bay, QLD, Australia". Australian Heritage Database. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Fishing stocks drop in Great Sandy Strait". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 4 November 2005. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  12. ^ Bill Hoffman (14 November 2009). "How the Mary Valley was saved". Sunshine Coast Daily. APN News & Media. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  13. ^ "Great Sandy Marine Park (map)" (PDF). Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing. Queensland government. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  14. ^ "IBA: Great Sandy Strait". Birdata. Birds Australia. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.

External links[edit]