Three Hummock Island

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Three Hummock Island
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Three Hummock Island is shown in the lower left on the map, in the Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria.
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Three Hummock Island
Location of the Three Hummock Island in the Bass Strait
EtymologyThree prominent hills: North, Middle and South Hummock
Location Bass Strait
Coordinates 40°26′24″S144°54′36″E / 40.44000°S 144.91000°E / -40.44000; 144.91000 Coordinates: 40°26′24″S144°54′36″E / 40.44000°S 144.91000°E / -40.44000; 144.91000
Archipelago Hunter Group
Area70 km2 (27 sq mi)
Highest elevation237 m (778 ft)
Highest pointSouth Hummock
State Tasmania
Largest settlementChimney Corner
Additional information
Official website

The Three Hummock Island, part of the Hunter Island Group, is a 70-square-kilometre (27 sq mi) granite island, located in the Bass Strait near King Island, lying off the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia. [1]

Granite A common type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock with granular structure

Granite is a common type of felsic intrusive igneous rock that is granular and phaneritic in texture. Granites can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on their mineralogy. The word "granite" comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a holocrystalline rock. Strictly speaking, granite is an igneous rock with between 20% and 60% quartz by volume, and at least 35% of the total feldspar consisting of alkali feldspar, although commonly the term "granite" is used to refer to a wider range of coarse-grained igneous rocks containing quartz and feldspar.

Island Any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines.

Bass Strait Sea strait between the Australian mainland and Tasmania

Bass Strait is a sea strait separating Tasmania from the Australian mainland, specifically the state of Victoria.


The island is named after its three most prominent hills, North, Middle and South Hummock, the latter being the highest with an elevation of 237 metres (778 ft) above mean sea level. Part of the island is a nature reserve, with the rest a pastoral lease where farming took place from the mid-1800s to at least the mid-1970s. The focus of human settlement on the island is the homestead at Chimney Corner at the westernmost point. There is an automated lighthouse at Cape Rochon in the north-east, as well as roads, three airstrips, fencing and a wharf. Seasonal muttonbirding occurs in March and April. [2]

Nature reserve Protected area for flora, fauna or features of geological interest

A nature reserve is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. Nature reserves may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities and research institutions, regardless of nationality. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws. Normally it is more strictly protected than a nature park.

A pastoral lease is an arrangement used in both Australia and New Zealand where Crown land is leased by government generally for the purpose of grazing on rangelands.

A homestead is a isolated dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station.

Flora and fauna

Much of the island is composed of dense scrub dominated by Leptospermum scoparium , Melaleuca ericifolia and Banksia marginata , while 25% of the area is covered by Eucalyptus nitida woodland. [2]

<i>Leptospermum scoparium</i> species of plant

Leptospermum scoparium, commonly called mānuka, manuka, manuka myrtle, New Zealand teatree, broom tea-tree, or just tea tree, is a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family Myrtaceae, native to Australia and New Zealand.

<i>Melaleuca ericifolia</i> species of plant

Melaleuca ericifolia, commonly known as swamp paperbark, is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and the genus Melaleuca, native to south-eastern Australia. It is a rather variable species and some specimens resemble Melaleuca armillaris but its papery bark and smaller, more prolific flower heads distinguish it from that species. It often grows in swampy areas and the draining and clearing of these has reduced the numbers of the species, especially around Port Philip Bay near Melbourne. It is also similar to Melaleuca pustulata, a Tasmanian endemic, but that species only grows in dry heath.

<i>Banksia marginata</i> A tree or woody shrub in the family Proteaceae found throughout much of southeastern Australia

Banksia marginata, commonly known as the silver banksia, is a species of tree or woody shrub in the plant genus Banksia found throughout much of southeastern Australia. It ranges from the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, to north of Armidale, New South Wales, and across Tasmania and the islands of Bass Strait. It grows in various habitats, including Eucalyptus forest, scrub, heathland and moorland. Banksia marginata varies widely in habit, ranging from a small shrub, 20 cm (7.9 in) high, to a large tree, 12 m (40 ft) tall. The narrow leaves are linear and the yellow inflorescences occur from late summer to early winter. The flower spikes fade to brown and then grey and develop woody follicles bearing the winged seeds. Originally described by Antonio José Cavanilles in 1800, further collections of B. marginata were described as several separate species by Robert Brown in 1810. However, all were reclassified as a single species by George Bentham in 1870. No distinct subspecies have been recognised by Banksia expert Alex George, who nonetheless concedes that further work is needed.

The island forms part of the Hunter Island Group Important Bird Area. [3] Breeding seabirds and shorebirds include little penguin, short-tailed shearwater, Pacific gull, pied oystercatcher, sooty oystercatcher and hooded plover. Mammals include the introduced eastern grey kangaroo, feral cat and house mouse. Feral sheep were recorded in a 1999 survey. Tiger snakes are also present. [2]

Hunter Island Group Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in Tasmania, Australia

The Hunter Island Group Important Bird Area comprises several islands in the Hunter Island Group and Trefoil Island Group lying off the north-western coast of Tasmania, Australia.

Seabird Birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment

Seabirds are birds that are adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations. The first seabirds evolved in the Cretaceous period, and modern seabird families emerged in the Paleogene.

Little penguin smallest penguin species

The little penguin is the smallest species of penguin. It grows to an average of 33 cm (13 in) in height and 43 cm (17 in) in length, though specific measurements vary by subspecies. It is found on the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand, with possible records from Chile. In Australia, they are often called fairy penguins because of their small size. In New Zealand, they are more commonly known as little blue penguins or blue penguins owing to their slate-blue plumage; they are also known by their Māori name: kororā.

European settlement

Warne Family

Elias Albert Warne acquired a lease for the island in 1926. His son Cecil Vernon Warne arrived in February 1926 aboard the Hillsmeads from Melbourne bringing the first ever 500 sheep to the Island, during the following weeks 3 more shipments arrived giving a total of 2,200 sheep. Some cattle were still on the island left by previous leases, they were rounded up, fences repaired and some sold with a bull purchased from Hunter Island.

Cecil Warne had married Dulcie Ruby Trevena two years previously in Birchip, Victoria.

Dulcie had remained in Melbourne for the birth of their first son Colin Robert on 8 April

Cecil returned to Melbourne for the birth and came back with some family members and set about constructing a shearing shed, many fences for sheep pens and even constructed a cement lined ‘sheep dip’ which still exists under a boxthorn hedge.

They lived in the house built in 1910 and Dulcie baked bread in the big wood oven, made butter and sold some at times. The old house c1850 was recycled for timber and nails to build the Shearing Shed.

Tracks were cleared around the island with only transport being on horseback pulling a sled for new fence posts, tools and sometimes family for a weekend picnic.

In 2 September Shearers arrived and helped with final work on the ‘sheep dip’ they spent almost five weeks until all sheep were shorn and dipped, with 48 bales of wool sent off to market aboard the Coomonderry.

During their first year (1926) they were able to send to market the following:

Cattle    277      Sheep 704       Butter 9 boxes     Wool 48 bales

Cecil and Dulcie left the island in 1929 and went back to farming in the Mallee.

Elias and other members of the Warne family continued time on the island looking after the stock.

During 1931 Elias advertised the island for ‘stock agistment’.

An auction was held in 1933 for a new 16-year lease and the Nichols Family commenced their time on the Island.

Nichols family

Bill and Amelia ("Ma") Nichols leased Three Hummock Island from 1933 till 1950, and grazed cattle and sheep. They were also involved in fishing and muttonbirding. Over the years they owned several ships including Lady Jean, Lady Flinders, and Jean Nichols which were used to carry cargo and passengers to and from the Bass Strait islands and to Melbourne and Launceston. They built up a small community of workers on the island, including some of their relations. One of these workers was Peggy Puckett, from Stanley. Her story is told in A Walk Along the Shore [4] in which she describes life on the island with the Nichols family during the six years she lived with them from 1937 to 1943. Mrs Nichols named Peg's Paddock after her, mentioned in both A Walk Along the Shore and Eleanor Alliston's Escape to An Island.

The Nichols family left the island in 1950 and the Alliston family arrived in 1951.

Alliston family

Author Eleanor Alliston wrote Escape to an Island and Island Affair about the life of her family on Three Hummock Island. The two books tell the story of how the Alliston family emigrated from England after the end of World War II to start a new life alone on the island in the hope of providing a better and different childhood for their children. The books have much between the lines left to readers' imaginations. The second book ends in 1984, the island having a population of two—the author and her husband; their four children, who were brought up on the island, having left it, married with families and having a total of ten grandchildren.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

In the 1990s one of the Alliston children, Rob, returned to the island to run a tourist venture. The Alliston family sold the lease in 2006.

The book Island Affair contains mention of Giuseppe Garibaldi's visit to the island in 1852 while in exile from Italy as a captain of the trading vessel Carmen. [5] [6]

Caretaker History

Three Hummock Island now operates as an eco-tourism venture with accommodation for up 14 people. Managers John and Beverley O'Brien lived on Three Hummock Island from 2009-2018.

Related Research Articles

Flinders Island island to the north of Tasmania, Australia

Flinders Island, the largest island in the Furneaux Group, is a 1,367-square-kilometre (528 sq mi) island located in the Bass Strait, northeast of the island of Tasmania. Flinders Island is part of the state of Tasmania, Australia, and is situated 54 kilometres (34 mi) from Cape Portland and it is located on 40° south, a zone known as the Roaring Forties.

Western Port bay

Western Port, commonly but unofficially known as Western Port Bay, is a large tidal bay in southern Victoria, Australia, opening into Bass Strait. It is the second largest bay in the state. Geographically, it is dominated by the two large islands; French Island and Phillip Island. Contrary to its name, it lies to the east of the larger Port Phillip, and is separated from it by the Mornington Peninsula. It is visited by Australian fur seals, whales and dolphins, as well as many migratory waders and seabirds. It is listed under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international significance.

Short-tailed shearwater species of bird

The short-tailed shearwater or slender-billed shearwater, also called yolla or moonbird, and commonly known as the muttonbird in Australia, is the most abundant seabird species in Australian waters, and is one of the few Australian native birds in which the chicks are commercially harvested. It is a migratory species that breeds mainly on small islands in Bass Strait and Tasmania and migrates to the Northern Hemisphere for the boreal summer.

Sheep station type of ranch in Australia or New Zealand

A sheep station is a large property in Australia or New Zealand whose main activity is the raising of sheep for their wool and meat. In Australia, sheep stations are usually in the south-east or south-west of the country. In New Zealand the Merinos are usually in the high country of the South Island. These properties may be thousands of square kilometres in size and run low stocking rates to be able to sustainably provide enough feed and water for the stock.

Muttonbirding seasonal harvesting of the chicks of petrels for food, oil and feathers

Muttonbirding is the seasonal harvesting of the chicks of petrels, especially shearwater species, for food, oil and feathers by recreational or commercial hunters. Such hunting of petrels and other seabirds has occurred in various locations since prehistoric times, and there is evidence that many island populations have become extinct as a result. More recently ‘muttonbirding’ usually refers to the regulated and sustainable harvesting of shearwaters in Australia and New Zealand. These include the short-tailed shearwater, also known as the yolla or Australian muttonbird, in Bass Strait, Tasmania, as well as the sooty shearwater, also known as the titi or New Zealand muttonbird, on several small islands known as the Muttonbird Islands, scattered around Stewart Island in the far south of New Zealand.

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Bears Island is a small island with an area of 0.34 ha, lying off the north-west tip of Three Hummock Island in Bass Strait, south-eastern Australia. It is part of Tasmania’s Hunter Island Group which lies between north-west Tasmania and King Island.

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  1. "Three Hummock Island (TAS)". Gazetteer of Australia online. Geoscience Australia, Australian Government.
  2. 1 2 3 Brothers, Nigel; Pemberton, David; Pryor, Helen; & Halley, Vanessa. (2001). Tasmania’s Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart. ISBN   0-7246-4816-X
  3. BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hunter Island Group. Downloaded from on 09/07/2011.
  4. A Walk Along the Shore (Jenny Pearce)
  5. 1852-53 - As a "citizen of Peru," he captains a clipper to the far east, returning to Lima via Australia and New Zealand. - Life and Times of Giuseppe Garibaldi - The Reformation Online
  6. Garibaldi, Giuseppe (1889). Werner, A. (ed.). Autobiography of Giuseppe Garibaldi. London: Walter Smith and Innes. pp. 65–66. Retrieved 26 January 2016. ... we passed through Bass's Strait, between Australia and Van Diemen's Land. Touching at one of the Hunter Islands, to take in water, we found a small farm, lately deserted by an Englishman and his wife, on the death of his partner. This information we obtained from a board erected on the settler's grave, which set forth in brief the history of the little colony. "The husband and wife," said the inscription, "unable to bear the loneliness of the desert island, left it, and returned to Van Diemen.