South Cumberland Islands National Park

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South Cumberland Islands National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
South Cumberland Islands National Park is located in Queensland
South Cumberland Islands National Park
South Cumberland Islands National Park
Nearest town or cityMackay, Queensland
Coordinates20°44′28″S 149°28′25″E / 20.74111°S 149.47361°E / -20.74111; 149.47361Coordinates: 20°44′28″S 149°28′25″E / 20.74111°S 149.47361°E / -20.74111; 149.47361
Area21.8 km2 (8.4 sq mi)
Managing authoritiesQueensland Parks and Wildlife Service
WebsiteSouth Cumberland Islands National Park
See alsoProtected areas of Queensland

South Cumberland Islands is a national park in Queensland, Australia, 831 km northwest of Brisbane. It is famous for the Marine stingers which can be found in the waters of the park between October and May.[1]


Islands that are protected within the park include (portion of) Keswick Island, St Bees Island, Cockermouth Island and Scawfell Island, which is the largest in the group. Refuge Bay on Scawfell Island provides good anchorage and fishing is permitted here.[1] Bush camping is permitted on Scawfell Island but visitors must be self-sufficient.

Scawfell Island

Scawfell Island (located at 20°52'S., 149°37'E.) rises to a peak, 397m high, South East of Duddon Point, the North extremity of the island. The Island lies off the cost of Queensland Australia, North East of Mackay; the island, lying 60 kilometres off the Australian mainland, is a large horseshoe shape. Granite cliffs line the coast of Scawfell Island, the largest national park island in the South Cumberland group. Large areas of rainforest perch on steep mountain slopes. Access to the island is via Refuge bay, a tree lined 1.3 km white sandy beach. The bay is a wide sheltered bay facing north with all tidal access; the bay has clear blue water, an excellent coral fringing reef, ideal for snorkelling.

The island is officially regarded as the beginning of the Whitsunday group, it was originally part of the Cumberland Isles Group identified by Captain James Cook in 1770, but was not named. The island is one of the Cumberland Isles, later known as Whitsundays, and is now part of the South Cumberland Islands. Designated L Island by Lieutenant Matthew Flinders of the British Royal Navy in September 1802 as one of his numerous alpha-numeric designations along the Queensland coast during his circumnavigation of Australia in HMS Investigator in 1802/3. Named as Scawfell Island in 1879 by Staff Commander E. P. Bedwell of the British Royal Navy who surveyed and named many islands of the Whitsundays in 1879 in SS Llewellyn; the Island is named after England's second highest mountain, in Cumbria. Called "Scawfell" at the time, this mountain is now called Sca Fell due to a procedural error by the Ordnance Survey in capturing the correct name, publishing this in 1867; this mistake changed common usage by about 1920. The Scafell Range includes Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain, but in 1879 many people did not differentiate between Scawfell Pike and Scawfell (spellings of that date) - regarding them as part of the same mountain.[2]

The island is uninhabited, though camping is allowed, but a permit is required from Queensland National parks. Camping is at sheltered sites in Refuge Bay.

St Bees Island St Bees Island is the 2nd largest island in the group 10.32 km2 (3.98 sq mi), and is populated by a family living at Homestead Bay on the island.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Explore Queensland's National Parks. Prahran, Victoria: Explore Australia Publishing. 2008. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-74117-245-4.
  2. ^ Wainwright, A. (1960). The Southern Fells. London: Francis Lincoln. ISBN 0-7112-2230-4.