Greenly Island (South Australia)

Greenly Island

Greenly Island; a distant view taken from the sea (circa 1903) [State Library of South Australia PRG 280/1/1/120]
Greenly Island
Location Great Australian Bight
Coordinates 34°38′49″S 134°47′53″E / 34.647°S 134.798°E / -34.647; 134.798Coordinates: 34°38′49″S 134°47′53″E / 34.647°S 134.798°E / -34.647; 134.798

Greenly Island is a 168 ha island located 30 km west-south-west of Point Whidbey, Eyre Peninsula in the Great Australian Bight. The island is uninhabited by humans and provides a haven for marine and terrestrial wildlife. The island and its intertidal zone constitute the Greenly Island Conservation Park. Its adjacent waters are occasionally visited by fishermen targeting yellowtail kingfish.


Greenly Island was named for Sir Isaac Coffin’s fiancée by the British explorer Matthew Flinders on 16 February 1802.


Greenly Island is a large granite dome with steep sides plunging vertically into deep water, split by two large crevasses which effectively break the island into three blocks. The top of the island is capped with Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) and Dryland Tea-tree (Melaleuca lanceolata) woodlands while the lower slopes have either a Coastal Tussock (Poa poiformis var. poiformis) grassland or a Marsh Saltbush (Atriplex paludosa var. cordata) shrubland. The main part of the island rises to the east to a steep peak of 230m.[1]


Greenly Island Conservation Park was constituted by statute in 1972 to protect the island’s delicate ecology and haul out areas for Australian sea lion and New Zealand fur seal.[1] western blue groper[2] and yellowtail kingfish[3] are found in the waters off Greenly Island. The tammar wallaby was introduced to Greenly Island (south) in 1905 to provide food for stranded sailors. Their impact on the vegetation is obvious in the marked difference between the north and south islands. Both northern and southern islands support high density populations of bush rats.

Birds recorded on Greenly Island include the Cape Barren goose, white-faced heron, ruddy turnstone, Australian raven, Australian kestrel, white-bellied sea eagle, sooty oystercatcher, welcome swallow, silver gull, Pacific gull, rock parrot, little grassbird, red-capped robin, great cormorant, short-tailed shearwater, crested tern, fairy tern, silvereye and little penguin.[1]

Reptiles recorded on Greenly Island include the bull skink (Egernia multiscutata) and four-toed earless skink (Hemiergis peronii), southern four-toed slider (Lerista dorsalis), dwarf skink (Menetia greyii), Mallee snakeeye (Morethia obscura) and marbled gecko (Phyllodactylus marmoratus).[1]

Little penguins

The first fauna study of Greenly Island was conducted in 1948 and described the little penguins as "innumerable".[4] In 2004, the little penguin colony's population was estimated at 1,500 breeding birds.[5]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Department for Environment and Heritage (2006) Island Parks of Western Eyre Peninsula Management Plan, Government of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia. ISBN 1 921238 18 6. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  2. Finlayson, H. H. "A sojourn on a lonely granite peak off the West Coast. Fascinating glimpses of Greenly Island and its Wild Life" The Advertiser, South Australia (1947-12-13). Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  3. "The Kings of South Oz" Fishing World, Australia (2011-05-26). Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  4. Lindsay, H. A. "Unspoiled corner of original Australia" The Advertiser, South Australia (1948-02-14). Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  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.
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