Smooth Island (Tasmania)

Smooth Island, is a privately owned island with an area of 59.31 ha (146.6 acres)[1] lying close to the south-eastern coast of Tasmania, Australia. The island is part of the Sloping Island Group situated in Norfolk Bay and surrounded by the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas.[1] The towns Dunalley and Murdunna are nearby. Smooth Island differs from other Tasmanian islands as it has an unencumbered freehold title down to the high-water mark.

Smooth Island
Smooth Island sunset
Smooth Island
Location in Tasmania
LocationNorfolk Bay
Coordinates42°56′24″S 147°46′48″E
ArchipelagoSloping Island Group
Area59.31 ha (146.6 acres)
Coastline3.38 km (2.1 mi)
Highest elevation44 m (144 ft)
Additional information
Time zone


For administrative purposes, the island is within the Tasman Council, the land district of Pembroke, the legislative council of Rumney and the electorate of Lyons at state and federal levels. It lies within the Fire Management Area Committee Boundary (FMAC) of 'East Coast'.

Smooth Island is privately owned; it has a freehold title with no covenants. In 2014 Smooth Island was gazetted as a Private Forest Timber Reserve.[2] The coast line 200 metres (660 ft) from the Smooth Island waterline has been classified Zone 23 (Environmental management) under the Tasman Interim Planning Scheme 2015.[3][4]


Smooth island is private property to the coastal high-water mark; unauthorised public access, including mooring of vessels, is prohibited. Subject to authorisation, Smooth Island is easily accessible by boat and helicopter. The island's terrain is suited to the construction of a small airstrip.


The island receives radio coverage from ABC Local Radio (936 AM), 3G mobile phone coverage from Telstra and wireless coverage from the National Broadband Network. The table below outlines the nearest services and facilities to Smooth Island.

Service typeNameAddressCoordinatesDistance by airDistance by boatDistance by road from MurdunnaReference
Public boat rampMurdunna boat ramp[note 1][note 2]5.7 km5.8 km[5]
AmbulanceDodges Ferry Ambulance Station[note 3][note 4]17 km21 km28 km[6]
Medical (family doctor)Dodges Ferry Medical[note 5][note 6]17 km21 km28 km[7]
Major hospitalRoyal Hobart Hospital[note 7][note 8]37.5 km56 km65 km[8]
Police (and defibrillator)Dunalley Police Station[note 9][note 10]6.7 km6.7 km9 km[9]
Mobile phone transmission towerTelstra 3G 850 MHz[note 11][note 12]6 km[10]
Wireless internet transmission towerNational Broadband Network[note 11][note 12]6 km[10]
FuelShell Dunalley[note 13][note 14]6.5 km6.5 km9 km[11]
General storeDunalley Supermarket[note 15][note 16]6.7 km6.7 km9 km[12]
Large shopping centreSorell plaza shopping centre[note 17][note 18]25 km29 km40 km

Recreational fishing

"All waters 200 metres seaward from the low water mark of Smooth Island: Shark Refuge Area. No taking of shark, skates or rays, except elephantfish. Where permitted, graball nets must not be set for more than 2 hours and can only be set from sunrise until one hour before sunset. No mullet nets. No set lines (ong lines and drop lines)."[13]


Smooth Island lies 2.24 km (1.39 mi) from both Dunbabin Point[14] and Chronicle Point on the mainland, and 2.3 km (1.4 mi) from King George Island, measured from the nearest coastlines.

The island has two hilly peaks separated by a saddle.[note 19] The height above sea level of the North peak, South peak and saddle are 43 metres (141 ft), 40 metres (130 ft) and 30 metres (98 ft) respectively.[note 20][note 21]


Smooth island's climate is classified Cfb under the Köppen Climate Classification.

Climate data for Hobart International Airport (26 km (16 mi) from Smooth Island)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 22.6
Average low °C (°F) 12
Average precipitation mm (inches) 40.8
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology (1958–2015) [15]


The following fauna and flora have been observed on Smooth Island:[16]

List of species
Iconic name Common name Scientific name
Actinopterygii Bluethroat Wrasse Notolabrus tetricus
Animalia Air-breathing limpet Siphonaria diemenensis
Animalia Australian Marine Slater Ligia australiensis
Animalia Purple Mottled Shore Crab Cyclograpsus granulosus
Animalia Rosette barnacle Tetraclitella purpurascens
Animalia Waratah Anemone Actinia tenebrosa
Animalia Western Pacific purple sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma
Animalia Syndey Coral Galeolaria caespitosa
Animalia Six-plated barnacle Chthamalus antennatus
Arachnida Forest Scorpion Cercophonius squama
Aves Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscescens
Aves Brown Quail Synoicus ypsilophorus
Aves Crescent Honeyeater Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus
Aves Forest Raven Corvus tasmanicus
Aves Galah Eolophus roseicapilla
Aves House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Aves Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
Aves Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
Aves Little Penguin Eudyptula minor
Aves New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae
Aves Pacific Gull Larus pacificus
Aves Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris
Aves Silvereye Zosterops lateralis
Aves Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus
Aves Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax fleayi
Aves Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax
Aves White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Chromista Common Kelp Ecklonia radiata
Chromista Giant Kelp Macrocystis pyrifera
Chromista Neptune's necklace Hormosira banksii
Insecta Australian magpie moth Nyctemera amicus
Insecta Buff-tailed Bumble Bee Bombus terrestris
Insecta Common Brown Heteronympha merope
Insecta Disappearing Grasshopper Schizobothrus flavovittatus
Insecta European Honey Bee Apis mellifera
Insecta Harlequin Red Bug Dindymus versicolor
Insecta Inchman Ant Myrmecia forficata
Insecta Thynnus zonatus
Insecta Oxycanus australis
Insecta Omyta centrolineata
Mammalia Domestic Sheep Ovis aries
Mollusca Australian Black Nerite Nerita atramentosa
Mollusca blacklip abalone Haliotis rubra
Mollusca Cart-Rut Shell Dicathais orbita
Mollusca Common conniwink Bembicium melanostoma
Mollusca Gold-mouthed Conniwink Bembicium auratum
Mollusca Little Black Mussel Xenostrobus neozelanicus
Mollusca Little Blue Periwinkle Austrolittorina unifasciata
Mollusca Mediterranean Mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis
Mollusca Pacific Oyster Magallana gigas
Mollusca Snakeskin Chiton Sypharochiton pelliserpentis
Mollusca Southern flat oyster Ostrea angasi
Mollusca Southern Periwinkle Austrocochlea constricta
Mollusca Variegated limpet Cellana tramoserica
Mollusca Siphonaria funiculata
Mollusca Penion mandarinus
Mollusca Patelloida alticostata
Mollusca Ischnochiton australis
Mollusca Diloma concameratum
Mollusca Cominella lineolata
Mollusca Cellana solida
Mollusca Aplysia
Plantae African boxthorn Lycium ferocissimum
Plantae Austral Bracken Pteridium esculentum
Plantae Austral Seablite Suaeda australis
Plantae Australian Blackthorn Bursaria spinosa
Plantae Australian Pig Face Carpobrotus rossii
Plantae Australian Salt-grass Distichlis distichophylla
Plantae Beaded Samphire Salicornia quinqueflora
Plantae Bidgee-widgee Acaena novae-zelandiae
Plantae black wattle Acacia mearnsii
Plantae brambles Rubus
Plantae Buck's-horn Plantain Plantago coronopus
Plantae Capeweed Arctotheca calendula
Plantae cat's-ears Hypochaeris radicata
Plantae Clammy goosefoot Dysphania pumilio
Plantae Climbing saltbush Chenopodium nutans
Plantae Coast Flax-Lily Dianella brevicaulis
Plantae cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata
Plantae common boobialla Myoporum insulare
Plantae common chickweed Stellaria media
Plantae Common Sow-thistle Sonchus oleraceus
Plantae common stork's-bill Erodium cicutarium
Plantae Common Vetch Vicia sativa
Plantae Dwarf Nettle Urtica urens
Plantae Eurabbie Eucalyptus globulus
Plantae European blackberry complex Rubus fruticosus
Plantae fat hen Chenopodium album
Plantae fourleaf manyseed Polycarpon tetraphyllum
Plantae Greater Quaking Grass Briza maxima
Plantae Horehound Marrubium vulgare
Plantae Jellybeans Disphyma clavellatum
Plantae kangaroo-apple Solanum laciniatum
Plantae kidney weed Dichondra repens
Plantae Knobby Clubrush Ficinia nodosa
Plantae Kokihi Tetragonia implexicoma
Plantae lucerne Medicago sativa
Plantae Manna gum Eucalyptus viminalis viminalis
Plantae Mirror bush Coprosma repens
Plantae Monterey cypress Cupressus macrocarpa
Plantae musk stork's-bill Erodium moschatum
Plantae narrow-leaved vetch Vicia sativa nigra
Plantae New Zealand Celery Apium prostratum filiforme
Plantae orache Atriplex prostrata
Plantae Purple Dewplant Disphyma crassifolium
Plantae rough dog's-tail Cynosurus echinatus
Plantae Salsify Tragopogon porrifolius
Plantae Seaberry Saltbush Rhagodia candolleana
Plantae Seaberry Saltbush Rhagodia candolleana candolleana
Plantae Sheep's sorrel Rumex acetosella
Plantae Shore Celery Apium prostratum
Plantae Silver Banksia Banksia marginata
Plantae Small-flowered Catchfly Silene gallica
Plantae Spiny-headed Mat-rush Lomandra longifolia
Plantae Spotted medick Medicago arabica
Plantae Sticky hop-bush Dodonaea viscosa
Plantae sweet briar Rosa rubiginosa
Plantae Tasmanian Blue Gum Eucalyptus globulus globulus
Plantae Tasmanian flax-lily Dianella tasmanica
Plantae variegated thistle Silybum marianum
Plantae White Correa Correa alba
Reptilia Blotched Bluetongue Tiliqua nigrolutea


Smooth Island consists of diabase or dolerite rock, a subvolcanic intrusion that probably occurred from 56 to 33.9 million years ago during the Eocene epoch of the Cenozoic era.[17] A geological survey identified consolidated, brownish, fine-grained quartz sandstone occurring on the island's north-east coastline at approximately 2 metres (6.6 ft) above sea level, covered by sand. It was said to be similar to the sandstone samples retrieved from South Arm that contained numerous fossils but no fossils were found in the samples taken from Smooth Island.[18][19] The western aspect of the island contains dolerite (tholeiitic) with locally developed granophyre from the Jurassic period. The water table is classified as a surficial sediment aquifer (porous media – unconsolidated).[20]

Because the island predominantly has a sloping hard rock shore, there is little vulnerability to flooding or erosion due to a rise in sea level.[21] A coastal acid sulfate soil analysis produced a result of "extremely low" along the north and north-east side of the island.[21]

Marine ecology

Smooth Island is surrounded by a low-profile reef. A region of gravel or hard sand extends from the reef on the eastern coast towards King George Island and King George Sound. The reef on the western coast is surrounded by sand and a body of silt approaches the south-west coast of the island. Between Smooth Island and King George Island lies a dense bed of seagrass (Halophila australis) and eelgrass (Zostera tasmanica) covering about 12.5 hectares (31 acres).[22] Studies have found dense populations of South Australian cobbler (Gymnapistes marmoratus) within this region because this fish prefers patchy beds of eelgrass.[23] The island's east coast has the densest concentration of Little weed whiting (Neoodax balteatus) in Norfolk Bay; an assessment in 1995–1996 revealed that 88% of the fish caught were of the species Little Rock Whiting (Neoodax balteatus) and Bridled Leatherjacket (Acanthaluteres spilomelanurus).[24]

A species of red algae (Rhabdonia verticillata)[25][26] has been found close to the island.[27] The fish species flathead, trumpeter, perch, cod and Australian salmon can be found in the waters immediately surrounding the island. Dolphins are frequently sighted and killer whales (Orcinus orca) [28] are infrequently sighted near the island.[29][30] The Spotted handfish and the Live-bearing Seastar (Parvulastra vivipara) are threatened marine species that may be present in the waters surrounding Smooth Island.[31] A killer whale was identified 1 km (0.62 mi) north-east of the current lighthouse position. Several humpback whales were spotted near Smooth Island in June 2017.[32]

Ecological rehabilitation

The terrestrial ecosystem of Smooth Island has been damaged by overgrazing and slashing-and-burning,[33] and through the commercial hunting of wildlife.[34] The island's natural vegetation has been largely displaced by exotic grass, thistle, bracken, scattered eucalypts and African boxthorn bushes. Between 0.86 ha (2.1 acres)[35] and 18 ha (44 acres) of shearwater rookeries are present on Smooth Island and the impact of repeated fires on these habitats has been studied.[33] The island' current owners intend to systematically restore its native ecosystem. Since March 2014, a diverse range of native Tasmanian flora have been planted throughout the island.[36] Remnant eucalypts are also expected to seed on the island's south-east coast since grazing has ceased.



Matthew Flinders discovered the island on 15 December 1798 and named it "Smooth Island" on his contemporaneous maps[37][38] but the island does not appear on his 1814 map.[39] In 1824 Thomas Scott referred to the island as "Garden Island" on his maps. The origins of this are not entirely clear, and other sources are inconclusive about the above assertions.[40] and state that the island was first named on a map by "Cross (1830)" and "Frankland" (1837)", before stating several pages later that the island was first named "Smooth Island".

According to a 1911 newspaper article, the island "is not named in the map of D'Entrecasteaux, even though it was marked".[41] During the early 21st century, Smooth Island was occasionally listed as "Lot 1 Norfolk Bay, Dunalley TAS 7177" on some real-estate classifieds.[42]

Much confusion exists about the names of many of the islands in South East Tasmania.Garden Island has become an alternative name for both Green Island[43] and Smooth Island. A newspaper article from 1836 refers to a Garden Island in the Pembroke Land District.[44][45]


A survey of Smooth Island was completed on 14 July 1863; it reveals the presence of the original jetty, a spring and a guano excavation site on the island. Until 2014, a lighthouse with the international marker identifier K 3621.2 was present on Smooth Island; Marine and Safety Tasmania moved it following demands by the island's owners.[note 22][46][note 23][47]

Potential uses

Smooth Island's south and west coasts have alkaline soil while the east slope has acidic soil.[48] The crops with the greatest yield potential are as follows:[48]

Smooth Island has been the subject of two notable paintings: Michael Weitnauer's Norfolk Bay[50][51] and Dale Frank's "Dunalley, Smooth Island".[52] It has been mentioned in poems such as "Two Kinds of Silence" by Kathryn Lomer:[53]

I could lose or find myself
in this private Bermuda triangle-
Connelly's Bay, Lime Bay, Smooth Island;

In the dusk Smooth Island's navigation light
begins to blink its code name
to sailors bound for Dunalley[53]

See also


  1. Sommers Bay Road, Murdunna, Tas 7173
  2. 42.945952°S 147.855128°E / -42.945952; 147.855128
  3. Tiger Head Rd, Dodges Ferry, Tas 7173
  4. 42.857603°S 147.611366°E / -42.857603; 147.611366
  5. 52 Carlton Beach Rd, Dodges Ferry, Tas 7173
  6. 42.857818°S 147.617753°E / -42.857818; 147.617753
  7. 48 Liverpool St, Hobart, Tas 7000
  8. 42.879905°S 147.329534°E / -42.879905; 147.329534
  9. 126 Arthur Hwy, Dunalley, Tas 7177
  10. 42.887223°S 147.810238°E / -42.887223; 147.810238
  11. 17 Constance St, Dunalley, Tas 7177
  12. 42.889719°S 147.805765°E / -42.889719; 147.805765
  13. 119 Arthur Hwy, Dunalley, Tas 7177
  14. 42.887226°S 147.812031°E / -42.887226; 147.812031
  15. 168 Arthur Hwy, Dunalley, Tas 7177
  16. 42.889480°S 147.806124°E / -42.889480; 147.806124
  17. Cole Street, Sorell, Tas 7172
  18. 42.782389°S 147.566468°E / -42.782389; 147.566468
  19. North Peak: 42.9444°S 147.78219°E / -42.9444; 147.78219. South Peak:42.94877°S 147.7862°E / -42.94877; 147.7862. Saddle: 42.9461°S 147.78472°E / -42.9461; 147.78472
  20. Measured on 30 December 2015 using barometric function of Garmin Monterra. Sea level calibrated to 0 metres when tide was at 1.11 metres (3 ft 8 in). After the first set of measurements the device was recalibrated to sea level (−7 centimetres (−2.8 in)) and the altitude of the three features was reassessed, increasing the altitude of all points by 1 metre (3 ft 3 in). It is the second set of measurements which have been recorded. Conditions: pressure 1,015.4 hectopascals (14.727 psi), humidity 53%, 20.4 kilometres (12.7 mi) NE wind, no rain, dew point 12.7 °C (54.9 °F).
  21. Other data suggests the north peak is 39.95m above sea level, and south peak 36.81m above sea level. See this link for evidence:
  22. To the following location: 42.9399167°S 147.7812667°E / -42.9399167; 147.7812667
  23. The specifications of the light remain unchanged since this relocation. Its height is 2 metres (6 ft 7 in). The light's range was 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) in clear weather. It is a stainless steel pole in the water. The technical specifications of the lighthouse are: FL(3)W, period 6.1 seconds (i.e.: a cluster of 3 flashes of a white light is produced, which repeats every 6.1 seconds)
  24. 'Highly suitable' area: Most of the west side of the island – in addition to the south east side (near the shack, north of Crap Rock). 'Suitable' area: The remainder of the island.
  25. 'Highly suitable' area: Along a channel from the saddle to the south peak. 'Suitable' area: The remainder of the island.
  26. 'Highly suitable': A small patch at the very top of the north peak.
  27. 'Highly suitable': isolated patches, and most of the rest of the island is classified as 'suitable'.


  1. Nigel Brothers; David Pemberton; Helen Pryor; Vanessa Halley (1 May 2001). Tasmania's offshore islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. ISBN 978-0-7246-4816-0.
  2. "Map i Tenure". Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  3. "LISTmap – Land Information System Tasmania".
  4. "Tasman Interim Planning Scheme 2015".
  5. Ionata Digital. "Murdunna Boat Ramp". MAST. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  6. "Ambulance Service – Dodges Ferry – Department of Health and Human Services". Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  7. "Doctors, GPs & Medical Centres in Dodges Ferry, TAS 7173". HealthEngine. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  8. "Royal Hobart Hospital – Hospitals".
  9. "Tasmania Police". Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  10. "Oz Towers, Search for towers in your area".
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  12. "Dunalley General Store". 9 August 2009.
  13. "Recreational Fishing".
  14. Great Britain. Hydrographic Dept (1982). Australia pilot: South, south-east and east coasts of Australia from Green Cape to Port Jackson, including Bass Strait and Tasmania. Hydrographer of the Navy.
  15. "Climate statistics for Australian locations". Retrieved 11 April 2015.
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  27. Blackman, Adrian J; Matthews, David J (1982). "Halogenated phloroglucinols from Rhabdonia verticillata". Phytochemistry. 21 (8): 2141–2142. doi:10.1016/0031-9422(82)83072-0.
  28. "18 Jul 1894 – SHIPPING. ARRIVED.—Yesterday". 18 July 1894. p. 2.
  29. "Murdunna – RBasket (Real Estate Basket), Best Search Engine for Real Estate". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  30. "Murdunna TAS 7178". Domain. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  32. "ABC OPEN: Smooth Island in Norfolk Bay – From Project: Pic of the Week".
  33. Brothers, N.; Harris, S. (1999). "The effects of fire on burrow-nesting seabirds particularly short-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris) and their habitat in Tasmania" (PDF). Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania. 133: 15–22. doi:10.26749/rstpp.133.1.15. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
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  42. "Lot 1 Norfolk Bay, Dunalley, TAS 7177 – Bedroom House For Sale". Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  43. "History". Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  44. "15 Jan 1836 – Classified Advertising". 15 January 1836. p. 4. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
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  46. Ionata Digital. "M46-14 Smooth Island Light". MAST. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  47. Prostar Nga List of Lights, Radio AIDS and Fog Signals 2006 West Coasts of North and South America, Australia, Tasmania. ProStar Publications. 2006. ISBN 978-1-57785-715-0.
  48. "LISTmap – Land Information System Tasmania".
  49. "Phosphate Rock – Garden Island – Norfolk Bay" Department of State Growth, Government of Tasmania. Retrieved 20 February 2015
  50. "Michael Weitnauer Artist". michaelweitnauer.
  51. Prins, Stewart (7 January 2002). "Garden Island makes a winning work". The Mercury.
  52. "ART  GALLERIES". Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  53. Kathryn Lomer (2010). Two Kinds of Silence. ISBN 978-1-4587-8272-4.
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