Wedge Island (Western Australia)
The name mainly refers to the mainland settlement but also refers to a 400-metre (1,300 ft) long wedge shaped island located just south of "the point". The settlement of Grey is about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north-west. Both are within the Shire of Dandaragan.
The island occupies an area 4.03 hectares (9.96 acres) and is situated 200 metres (656 ft) from the mainland. The island has a maximum elevation of 21 m (69 ft).
Wedge Island was named after government surveyor Charles Wedge, in 1875 by Staff-Commander William Edwin Archdeacon R.N., who was in charge of the Admiralty survey of the coast of Western Australia.
The settlement is now home to approximately 350 beach shacks on unvested land that are used by crayfishermen and holiday-goers. A new sealed road, Indian Ocean Drive was opened in September 2010, and there are claims[by whom?] that this has changed the local environment. The road, intended to promote tourism is well known for a number of serious vehicle crashes since it opened.
Wedge can also be accessed via the beach if the tide is out. The beach is very soft during summer and many vehicles become bogged or are swept into the water. There is no access at any time through the military range. Trespassers face large fines and possible loss of their vehicle if caught.
Wedge is often quiet during the cooler months but during major public holidays such as Christmas, New Year's Day and Australia Day there are people in nearly every shack. Camping in the area is now officially prohibited. It is estimated that 14,000 individuals may use the shacks at Wedge and Grey. There are no shops, mains electricity nor running water, so generators are common. Activities include four wheel driving, sand boarding, surfing and kitesurfing, fishing, swimming and snorkeling. Motorbike riding has been banned in the area surrounding Wedge Island after many accidents resulted in people needing to be air lifted to get medical attention. The ranger now hands out fines to those caught using unlicensed vehicles in the vicinity, or leaving rubbish there.
A man was fatally stabbed during a beach party on the northern side of Wedge in December 2013, after a brawl broke out. The New Year's Eve party involved more than 600 people.
The WA Government has considered the removal of the shacks on Wedge in line with government policy. In March 2010, the Minister for the Environment Donna Faragher announced that she would not be seeking an end to the leases at Wedge and Grey until compromise options were considered by government. In April 2011, a WA Legislative Council Standing Committee found that coastal shacks should be removed to protect the environment from "unplanned growth". The shack leases were due to expire on 30 June 2011 but the Wedge community won a one-year renewal for all occupied facilities.
Wedge and Grey are in an area subject to summer bushfires and visitors in beach shacks are sometimes asked to relocate.
- "Turquoise Coast islands nature reserves management plan" (PDF). Government of Western Australia. 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- "Obituary. Staff-Captain William Edwin Archdeacon, R.N., 1839-1893" (pdf). Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 113 (1893): 360–361. January 1893. doi:10.1680/imotp.1893.20468. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- Powell, Graeme; Wynne, Grant (2 January 2014). "Man stabbed to death at out-of-control New Year's Eve beach party at Wedge Island, WA". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- Slideshow of images of Wedge Island from the BBC World Service
- Geoscience Gazetteer of Australia
- Wedge Island Community page
- Wedge Island Information Page
- Wedge and Grey Master Plan 2000
- Radio National - Wedge Island documentary and comments
- Environment and Public Affairs Committee : Inquiry into Shack Sites in WA