Magnetic Island  - North  Queensland

The island is a truly a must visit destination
best enjoyed over several days!. 
View to the North Balding Bay from the Fort lookout

               Looking to Cape Clevleand - Rocky Terrain

Magnetic Island 8 kilometres offshore from Townsville, Queensland, known locally as Maggie Island or the island.  Located within the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the island is different to the lush tropical rainforest on many of the Great Barrier Reef islands. The island has an extraordinary landscape of rocky terrain and giant boulders. Magnetic Island has less rainfall than the Wet Tropics to the north and the Whitsunday?s to the south. Its climate is that of the dry tropics and it is covered with eucalypt and Hoop Pine woodlands.


 The island is mountainous covering 52 square kilometres and has about 2,000 permanent residents. The island is accessible from Townsville via Nelly Bay Harbour by ferry. More than half the island is a National Park and bird sanctuary mostly located on the steep hilly interior and rugged north-western side crisscrossed with walking tracks between the populated bays and to a number of tourist destinations such as the World War II forts. The highest point on the island is Mount Cook497m above sea level.


       Horseshoe Bay


The first European accounts of the island come from Captain James Cook who, in 1770, while navigating the Australian coast.  

The island named after the "magnetic" effect it had on the compass of Captain Cook's  Endeavour as he passed the island in 1770. People have since explored the area of Magnetic Island to discover what might have caused the effect that Cook reported, nothing has been discovered. There have been several investigative studies undertaken to see if the reported cause could be etablished, the most recent was in 2012.

The island's mysterious magnetic effect remains a mystery.

Pre-European settlement 

Maggie Island is known as Yunbenun, by our indigenous people who inhabited the island before European settlement travelling between the island and mainland using canoes. Aboriginal middens and cave drawings can still be found in a number of bays around Magnetic Island. Folklore of the local Wulguru tribe recounts an annual migration from the island to the mainland to avoid expeditions of head-hunters from Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait, which used the northern trade winds to travel south along the Queensland coast. Head-hunting nearly ceased following the arrival of missionaries.

 Koala - Magnetic Island National Park


Looking from Geoffrey Bay back to Townsville

European settlement and development 

Picnic Bay was named for its popularity as a picnic spot for visitors from the mainland during the 19th century, before Magnetic Island was first settled by Europeans. In the mid-19th century the island became a popular location for the collection of stone and coral needed for development on the mainland. In 1875, the island was set aside as a quarantine station although it took another ten years for the proper facilities to be set up at West Point. In November 1884 the construction of the quarantine station at West Point on the north-west side of the island

1890 saw the establishement of a resort at Picnic Bay. In 1898 Robert Hayles Sn. so impressed by the potential of Magnetic Island as a tourist destination sold his other interests to build a resort on the island. Hayles was responsible for much of the early tourism development of tourism on the island, 1901 he started a regular ferry service to the island. Twelve months later this ship was wrecked on the rocks at Nobby Head near Picnic Bay, the Phoenix was built by Hayles' sons as a replacement the vessel. The Hayles? company remained operating services to Magnetic Island with a large number of different vessels until the 1970s

On The Beach - Horseshoe Bay


World War II

Magnetic Island became an important defensive position during World War II because of its proximity to Townsville, an important military base, and its views over Cleveland Bay, a significant anchorage and assembly point for large fleets and convoys operating in the south Pacific. The Magnetic Battery, an artillery battery and observation post, was built in the hinterland of Florence, Horseshoe and Arthur Bays. Construction of the fort took only six months an amazing achievement. Picnic Bay also became a popular defence force rest and relaxation camp following the commandeering of a resort in the bay in 1939.


     Fort Magnetic Island looking to Cape Cleveland




Magnetic Island


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 Magnetic Island Tourist Information



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