Lavinia Nature Reserve
The name derives from the 52-ton schooner Martha Lavinia, wrecked on a reef offshore near the reserve in 1871 while carrying a cargo of potatoes from Tasmania to Adelaide, which gave its name to several features along the north-eastern King Island coast. Reservation of land in what is now the reserve began in 1959 with the gazettal of the 510 ha Sea Elephant River Wildlife Sanctuary; it was incorporated with additional land to the north in 1971 with the proclamation of the Lavinia Sanctuary. In 1983 a 1730 ha area around the Sea Elephant estuary was listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, being only the fifth Australian site to be so designated. In 1994 the Ramsar site boundary was realigned and extended to correspond with those of the current nature reserve.
The reserve occupies much of the coast at the north-eastern end of the island, extending from Lake Martha Lavinia and Penny’s Lagoon in the north to the estuary of the Sea Elephant River in the south. It contains swamps, long sandy beaches and coastal heathlands, protecting the largest remaining block of native vegetation on King Island.
The reserve contains three heathland communities: swamp paperbark dry heath, coastal tea tree heath and scented paperbark wet heath. : The vulnerable scrambling ground fern is present. In the past frequent fuel-reduction burning has led to much woody vegetation being replaced by bracken and tussock grassland. Saltmarsh abuts the Sea Elephant estuary.
The reserve provides habitat for many birds and other animals, including the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot, the extremely rare King Island subspecies of the brown thornbill, and the Southern Hairy Red Snail. Short-tailed shearwaters have colonies in the dunes behind Lavinia Beach while fairy terns nest on the sand spit at the mouth of the Sea Elephant River. Hooded plovers and pied oystercatchers nest on the beaches. The marshy grassland surrounding the estuary is home to the only known Tasmanian population of the golden-headed cisticola.
- Anon (2000). Lavinia Nature Reserve Draft Management Plan 2000. Hobart: Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania.