The Nuyts Archipelago

by Mal K.Johnson,VK6LC and Wolfgang Schippke, DC3MF (15.March 1997)


St.Peter Island (32S17, 133E35) is the largest island in the Nuyts Archipelago and located in the Smoky Bay, south of Coduna Settlement and close offshore Murray Bay. The island is about 14 km in a southwest to northeast direction, is about 4 km wide and rises on Mount Younghusband to an elevation of 44 meters. Its northeastern part is formed as a long spit, about 1 kilometer long, but only 100 to 300 meters wide. The south has two parallel ranges of hills, rising to 40 meters , which were covered by bushes and low grass.
A drying sand-bank extends up to 3 kilometers northeast of the island fronting the spit. The south side of the island is marked by a drying reef, named Gliddon Reef. St.Peter island is joined to Goat Island, about 1.5 kilmeters offshore, by a rocky ledge. Goat Island is 59 meters high.
There is no permanent population living on the island, so the Australian Island Handbook says.
The coast area was first visited by the Dutch in 1627, and Captain Thyssen reports of several scattered island along the coast. Thyssen named the complete group after a passenger of him, Peter Nuyts. It seams that St.Peter island was re-discovered in 1798 by the British Captain Bass. In 1801 the British Brig 'Greater London' run on the northerastern sand bank and wreked. In 1802 Captain Flinders, commander of the HM sloop 'Investigator' visited the island on the 7th of February, and reported it for the first time as St.Peters Island.Flinders reported about giant grass hoppers, living on the hot island. He reported too, of very dangerous snakes swimming in the bay.
The complete group of the Nuyts consists of the northern Nuyts Islands, with St.Peter as the major, and the southern Isles of St.Francis, located about 40 kilometers further south-south-west. The largest in this island group is St.Francis Island, 2 miles in extent, covered with low vegetation and rising to 80 meters. In the Petral Bay (32S30, 133E16) stands a group of ruined houses.The most outlaying island in the group is Hart Island (32S39, 133E08), about 55 kilometers off the coast. The innern most island are the Franklin Group (32S28, 133E50), with the largest islet EyreThe complete group is today a part of the Conservation Departments.