Shark Island (Port Jackson)

Shark Island seen from Nielsen Park
Illustration of the island's shark-like shape as seen from the air

Shark Island is an island in Sydney Harbour, in New South Wales, Australia. The island is 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) in area,[1] measuring some 250 metres by 100 metres, and lies off the Sydney suburbs of Point Piper, Rose Bay and Vaucluse, in the eastern section of the harbour between the Harbour Bridge and the harbour entrance. The island was known by the local Aboriginal people as Boambilly,[2] and the current name comes from its shape, which is claimed to resemble a shark.[3]

The island has been the site of drownings, shipwrecks, and at least one shark attack, when, in 1877, famed Australian rules footballer and cricketer George Coulthard was sitting in a boat anchored offshore and pulled overboard by a large shark.

Parts of the island were set aside as a recreation reserve as early as 1879 and it was also used as an animal quarantine station and naval depot until 1975. At that time it became exclusively a recreation reserve and part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. Approved operators and a scheduled ferry service take people to the island.[4][5][6]

Just north of the northern tip of the island is Shark Island Light, an active pile lighthouse which was built in 1913. The lighthouse is painted white. It is very close to the island, about fifteen to twenty metres away.[7]

See also


  1. "Sydney Harbour National Park Shark Island". National Parks and Wildlife Service. NSW Government. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  2. Shark Island, Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  3. Sydney Harbour National Park - Park Maps, New South Wales Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources (as at 9 September 2005)
  4. Sydney Harbour National Park Culture & history, National Parks and Wildlife Service (as at 21 March 2006)
  5. New weekend ferry service for Sydney Harbour's Shark Island, National Parks and Wildlife Service press release 11 April 2003
  6. David Messent (1994). The Complete Guide to Sydney Harbour, ISBN 0-646-17888-1, page 130.
  7. Searle, Garry. "List of Lighthouses - New South Wales". Lighthouses of Australia. SeaSide Lights.

Coordinates: 33°51′30.08″S 151°15′27.50″E / 33.8583556°S 151.2576389°E / -33.8583556; 151.2576389

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