Magnetic Island

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Magnetic Island
Rocky Bay, behind it Nelly Bay
Rocky Bay,
behind it Nelly Bay
Waters Coral sea
Geographical location 19 ° 8 ′  S , 146 ° 50 ′  E Coordinates: 19 ° 8 ′  S , 146 ° 50 ′  E
Magnetic Island (Queensland)
Magnetic Island
length 11.3 km
width 8.6 km
surface 51.2 km²
Highest elevation Mount Cook
497  m
Residents 2335 (2016)
46 inhabitants / km²
main place Nelly Bay
Magnetic Island and the Great Palm Islands group
Magnetic Island and the Great Palm Islands group

Magnetic Island or, in the language of its native people, Yunbenun is a 51.2 km² Australian island with a population of 2,335. It is located off the east coast of southern North Queensland and belongs to the urban area of Townsville .


The island was discovered for Europe in 1770 by the British captain James Cook and his crew. When those sailed past in the ship Endeavor , their compass went crazy, which is why Cook suspected the island was made of magnetite rock. At that time, Aborigines lived on the island , the Wulgurukaba or Nyawaygi , who called the island "Yunbenun" (the names of the societies are inconsistent).

In 1864/1865 the settlement Townsville was founded at the nearby mouth of the Ross River , to which the Magnetinsel belongs today.

During World War II , Townsville became an important location for the military to fend off a possible invasion of Australia by the Japanese army . At that time fortifications were built on Yunbenun , which probably served to monitor and secure the air and sea. However, the area was spared from Japanese attacks. The remains of these fortifications, called "The Forts", which are located in the northeast of the island, can still be visited today.

In the last few decades the importance of Yunbenun as a recreation and holiday area and with it its population has increased significantly.


Yunbenun is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef , separated by the 4-8 km wide West Channel from Townsville and mainland Australia between Halifax Bay and Cleveland Bay .

Yunbenun is by and large quite mountainous and reaches an altitude of 497 meters in Mount Cook in the western part. Only on the west coast and in the populated bays, the large, slightly horseshoe-shaped Horseshoe Bay and the smaller bays Nelly Bay (with the village of the same name), Geoffrey Bay and Alma Bay (with the village of Arcadia Bay ) and Picnic Bay (with the village of the same name ) there are flat areas.

The four villages on the island, in which the majority of the population of 2107 (2006 census) lives, are all in the eastern part of the coast, from north to south: Horseshoe Bay, Arcadia Bay, Nelly Bay and Picnic Bay. In addition, there is the small settlement of West Point with the remaining 35 islanders, which extends south of the western tip of the island of the same name.

No. Community Area
1 Horseshoe Bay 9.7 484 49.9
2 Arcadia Bay 5.2 257 49.4
3 Nelly Bay 5.2 973 187.1
4th Picnic Bay 2.8 359 128.2
5 West Point 28.4 35 1.2
  Magnetic Island 51.3 2107 41.1


Magnetic Island is located in the humid tropics . The monthly mean of the daily minimum and maximum temperatures are between 13 and 32 ° C. The average annual rainfall is around 1200 mm, of which more than two thirds fall in the three to four month rainy season from December to March, which is also the warmest time of the year.


There are small coral reefs in several of the bays . A mudflat stretches off the west coast . There are also extensive mangrove populations that thrive there. The rest of the coast is rather rocky with sandy beaches in the bays. The island's creeks are dry for most of the year.

Most of the island is covered by more or less sparse dry eucalyptus forests. In some valleys, rainforest-like communities thrive. The rocky, coastal hills, however, are covered with lighter vegetation. Often there are thickets of bushes or grassy-herbaceous communities towered over by individual araucarias , deciduous trees, grass trees and shrubs. Fires are quite common in these dry habitats and in some cases are a necessary part of natural occurrences.

The animal world is represented quite diverse on the island. Perhaps particularly noteworthy are the koalas ( Phascolarctos cinereus ), which with a bit of luck you can meet in the area around the old fortifications, and the nocturnal long-tailed tricks ( Burhinus grallarius ), which are quite common in the settlement areas and there at night utter high-pitched screams.

Over half of the island is under protection as Magnetic Island National Park .


In the broader sense, tourism is the only significant economic factor on the island.


Yunbenun is connected to Townsville by a ferry, which regularly commutes between the city and the island's capital, Nelly Bay, during the day. There is a bus service on the island as well as the possibility of renting vehicles. You can also take your own vehicle to get to the island.

Web links

Commons : Magnetic Island  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics : Magnetic Island ( English ) In: 2016 Census QuickStats . June 27, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  2. Hughes, Holly; Murphy, Sylvie; Flippin; Alexis Lipsitz; Duchaine, Julie: Frommer's 500 Extraordinary Islands . John Wiley & Sons, 2010, ISBN 978-0-470-59518-3 , p. 357.
  3. ^ Community Profile, worksheet B01
  4. 2006 Census: QuickStats