Hinchinbrook Island



Hinchinbrook Island


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Hinchinbrook Island is a small, uninhabited island located in the middle of the Bass Strait, about 300 kilometres off the coast of Tasmania. Discovered in 1802 by the British explorer Matthew Flinders, the island was named after Anne Hinchinbrook, the wife of Sir John Hinchinbrook, who was governor of New South Wales at the time. The island has been designated as a Ramsar wetland of international importance and is home to a variety of bird and reptile species.

Hinchinbrook Island


Hinchinbrook Island was first discovered by the British explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802. It was named after Anne Hinchinbrook, the wife of Sir John Hinchinbrook, who was governor of New South Wales at the time. The island has been designated as a Ramsar wetland of international importance and is home to a variety of bird and reptile species. Museum

The Hinchinbrook Island Museum contains a collection of artefacts from the island and other Shetland locations. Its curator, Andrew Jamieson is an active member of the Victorian Historical Society. Features include residential photos and diaries with writing dating back to 1831 plus material relating to George Watson (1840–1926) whose many achievements included being elected Lord Provost for Edinburgh in 1920 whilst living on Hinchin brook Island.


The climate on Hinchinbrook Island is mild with average daytime temperatures ranging from 22C to 28C in the winter and 18C to 25C in the summer.

The island has a population of about 20 seasonal residents who live there year-round. There are no roads or other infrastructure on the island, which means that visitors must be transported by boat or helicopter. Off the island, there are a number of moorings, from 1 to 2.5m water depth in good holding conditions which provide shelter for people needing a quick escape.


The culture on Hinchinbrook Island is characterised by the close-knit relationship between the permanent residents and their interactions with visitors, both from Shetland and elsewhere. Activities that take place during the annual open day festival include a musical display, poetry readings, traditional crafts demonstrations and a quiz contest. Marriage, parentage and family are deeply important concerns to residents of Hinchinbrook Island.

Consequently, most births on the island do not take place in a hospital but instead involve local midwives or nurses who often contract out certain functions to doctors from mainland Shetland (usually those with appointments at Lerwick Hospital).


The political landscape on Hinchinbrook Island is shaped by the fact that it is an unincorporated community and so does not have a municipal council or other formal governing body. The only formal institutions are the two churches which share responsibility for running services, organising social events and liaising with government agencies. Disputes between residents usually arise over such issues as who should be responsible for mooring space on the island, where rubbish should go and how to gather food.

A unique aspect of life on the island is that everyone has to pay an annual charge which is used to finance whoever wins the lottery (about £500). This financial support allows residents to retain ownership of their property, which they would normally have sold when moving ashore at some point since being exposed by erosion and springs in 1967.

Government services

The only form of government on Hinchinbrook Island is the informal arrangements between residents and churches. This means that residents have to navigate a complex system of rules and regulations in order to access services such as education, health care and social welfare. In addition, many businesses which are not traditionally associated with governmentality (such as taxi firms) also operate on the island because there is no formal economy or business registry.



Tourism is one of the main industries on Hinchinbrook Island. This is because it provides a steady stream of visitors who can spend money in the local stores and businesses, helping to sustain an informal economy which would otherwise be vulnerable to sporadic economic downturns. The island also has many natural attractions (such as salt pans, beaches and cliffs) which make it an attractive destination for tourists from around the world.



The only form of transport on the island is walking, which is slow and difficult in wet weather. There are no vehicles available for hire, so visitors have to either walk or take a taxi if they want to visit nearby towns or villages. Since July/August 2012, police have operated a roadblock at the start of Island Roads in Queensland. The ferry service to Hinchinbrook Island is also sometimes cancelled due to weather conditions. Access on foot or by bicycle only (no motorized vehicles allowed).


Because there is no formal economy on the island, most residents rely on subsistence farming and fishing to provide food. This means that the cuisine is relatively simple and focuses mainly on meat (such as pork, beef and lamb), fish and Aboriginal foods such as yabbies. There are few restaurants or cafes which serve traditional Australian dishes, so visitors have to bring their own food if they want to eat in any of the local establishments.


Hinchinbrook Island is home to a variety of wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, possums, bandicoots and echidnas. These animals are often seen in the surrounding forests or fields, making for an exciting and unusual sight for visitors. Other animals found on Hinchinbrook Island include: birds, squirrels and cockroaches.

Fauna that have become extinct since the arrival of humans includes several species of whales (such as humpback and grey), sea lions and turtles. Due to the abundance of food on Hinchinbrook Island and lack of natural predators, these animals were able to grow in numbers. When people started hunting them for sport or easy meat supplies stopped coming into their habitats, by the 1860s many species had become rare.


If you’re looking for a secluded getaway that offers plenty to do, Hinchinbrook Island is the perfect place for you. With its crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, lush forests, and abundance of wildlife, this undeveloped island offers plenty of activities for all types of travellers. Whether you’re in the mood for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, hiking, biking, or simply soaking up the sun and taking in the peace and quiet, there’s something for everyone on Hinchinbrook Island.


Is There A Phone Signal On Hinchinbrook Island?

There is limited cell service coverage on the island, though satellite phones can be used.

How Fast Does Mail Delivery Take To Hinchinbrook Island?

Postal deliveries are made three times per week to the island’s main port.

Is There A Doctor On Hinchinbrook Island?

The territorial government maintains an infirmary. Although stays in the nursing home’s 36 rooms are limited, five residents enjoy special hospitalization privileges due to their age or health conditions.

Will I Get Lost On Hinchinbrook Island?

Aside from the occasional false step while surfing, you’ll be fine exploring the island with a map and compass set. Everything (including campsites) can be found easily or reached by bike or kayak too.

Can I Live On Hinchinbrook Island?

The island is available under lease-holder provisions; however, it’s not recommended for permanent residency. While the only human inhabitants are two Aboriginal males living in a remote tip of the island (determined to retain their privacy and accepted by all as honorary members), your safety would be at risk if you chose this option.

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