Wellesley Islands

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The Wellesley Islands are a group of islands off the coast of north Queensland, Australia, in the Gulf of Carpentaria.[1] They were named by Matthew Flinders in honour of Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley. The largest island in the group is Mornington Island. Two small islands in the group form the Manowar and Rocky Islands Important Bird Area because of their importance for breeding seabirds.[2] The South Wellesley Islands and the Forsyth Islands are in the same area and all are the local government area of the Shire of Mornington.

Indigenous origin myth[edit]

According to indigenous belief, possibly mixed with fact, the islands were once part of mainland Australia:[3]

In the beginning, as far back as we remember, our home islands were not islands at all as they are today. They were part of a peninsula that jutted out from the mainland and we roamed freely throughout the land without having to get in a boat like we do today. Then Garnguur, the seagull woman, took her raft and dragged it back and forth across the neck of the peninsula letting the sea pour in and making our homes into islands.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wellesley Islands (entry 36965)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  2. ^ BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Manowar and Rocky Islands. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/23459 on 11/05/2016.
  3. ^ Reid, Nick. "Ancient Aboriginal stories preserve history of a rise in sea level". The Conversation. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 

Coordinates: 16°42′S 139°30′E / 16.700°S 139.500°E / -16.700; 139.500