GARDEN ISLAND

 

Garden Island
Southern end of Garden Island seen from Point Peron.

 

GPS 32 11 54 S 115 40 28 E

 

 

 

 

 

 

Europeans have known about the island since 1658, when it first appeared on Dutch maps. No name was given to it at this time.

 

First called Bauche Island by a French expedition that visited the coast between 1801-3, it was named in honour of the marine cartographer, Jean Nicolas Buache. The island was re-named Garden Island by James Stirling in 1827.

 

Originally, it was thought the name came from the establishment of the first garden for the colony but research now indicates that Stirling named the island on his first exploratory trip before any garden was established. Even so during that first exploration, some livestock were let loose and some seeds planted in the hopes of providing for future visitors. (The Aboriginal name for the island was Meeandip.)

 

When Stirling returned with settlers in 1829, he claimed the island as part of his own land grant. A settlement was initially established on the island and named Sulphur Town.

 

In 1907 some land was subdivided and from the 1920s it was used mostly for recreation with a holiday settlement being established at Careening Bay. A ferry service operated to the island for a number of years.

 

During World War II gun emplacements were built as part of a coastal defence system that included Point Peron and areas around Fremantle including Leighton Battery. Training for the Special Boat Section (better known as 'Z Special') was conducted on the island during WWII.

 

Between 1966 and 1969 plans were developed for the establishment of a naval support facility. In 1971 the construction of a causeway was started and it was completed in 1973. The facility, HMAS Stirling, was completed and commissioned on July 28th 1978. The base is home to submarines, frigates and a clearance diving team.

 

Today a large portion of the island is off limits to most people and the only public access is to the northern end of the island by boat during daylight hours.

 

The island is roughly 10 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide at the widest point.

 

Best time to visit:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

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Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

 

 

 

 

 

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