Wedge Island (South Australia)

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This article is about the island located in South Australia. For the associated locality, see Wedge Island, South Australia. For other uses, see Wedge Island.
Wedge Island
Wedge Island is located in South Australia
Wedge Island
Wedge Island
Location Spencer Gulf
Coordinates 35°09′19″S 136°27′54″E / 35.1554°S 136.4649°E / -35.1554; 136.4649Coordinates: 35°09′19″S 136°27′54″E / 35.1554°S 136.4649°E / -35.1554; 136.4649

Wedge Island is an island in the Australian state of South Australia located within the island group known as the Gambier Islands near the entrance to Spencer Gulf. It is the largest of the Gambier Islands, covers an area of about 10 square kilometres (3.9 sq mi) and is partly privately owned.


There is a lighthouse at the south-eastern end, and highest point, of the island. There is an airstrip on the island as well as a jetty. The island is not permanently inhabited, but has buildings used for holiday accommodation and as a base for local and offshore recreational fishing. It is also a dive site.


Wedge Island was named in 1802 by Matthew Flinders. It was originally settled in the mid-19th century as a farm for breeding horses for the British Indian Army, with various agricultural activities such sheep and cattle grazing and wheat cropping continuing for the next 130 years. During World War II, Wedge Island was used as a radar station by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). A bunker was constructed near the lighthouse and was occupied by about 40 RAAF personnel for several years.[1]

Flora and fauna[edit]


The endangered Brush-tailed Bettong has been introduced to the island.[2]

An account of the wildlife on Wedge Island from 1928 reads:

"The penguins were busy with their half-grown youngsters, and after dark the night echoed to their weird and ghostlike cries. Quail were plentiful among the grass paddocks and flew up almost from beneath our feet, while high above our heads a pair of wedge-tailed eagles wheeled and circled then planed slowly down to alight upon a lone pinnacle of the rocky western coast."[3]

Little penguins are known to have lived on the island from at least as early as 1924.[4] In 2004 there were estimated to be fewer than 100 little penguins in the colony.[5]

Southern hairy-nosed Wombats were introduced in 1971 to boost tourism appeal and there are now about 300 living on the island.[6]

Wedge Island Important Bird Area[edit]

Wedge island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International, an international non-governmental organization, because it supports over 1% of the world population, with up to about 16,000 breeding pairs, of white-faced storm-petrels.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A.C., Robinson; Canty, P.; Mooney, T.; Rudduck, P. (1996). South Australia's offshore islands (PDF). Canberra: Australian Heritage Commission. p. 126. ISBN 0-644350-11-3. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Michael. (1992). Australasian Marsupials and Monotremes: An Action Plan for Their Conservation. IUCN. ISBN 978-2-8317-0052-6. p.82.
  3. ^ "ISLANDS OF REMEMBRANCE. In Flinders' Track. Cruise of the Avocet." The Register, South Australia (1928-01-21). Retrieved 2014-02-27.
  4. ^ "Romance of South Australian Islands. Outposts of the State. Historical Links and Gems of Nature." The Mail, South Australia (1924-06-14). Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  5. ^ Wiebkin, A. S. (2011) Conservation management priorities for little penguin populations in Gulf St Vincent. Report to Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2011/000188-1. SARDI Research Report Series No.588. 97pp.
  6. ^ Klein, Alice. "Noah's ark island is saving vulnerable species in Australia". NewScientist. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "IBA: Wedge Island". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 2011-11-22.