The Furneaux Group of islands is a group of 52 islands located north east of
Tasmania, at the eastern end of the Bass Strait, between Victoria on the main
land and Tasmania. The largest of the group of islands is Flinders Island,
followed by Cape barren Island and Clarke Island.
Named after British
navigator Tobias Furneaux, who sighted the eastern side of the islands when
leaving Adventure Bay in 1773 on his way to rejoin James Cook in New Zealand. It
wasn't until 1798 when Matthew Flinders arrived to explore the island group
The Furneaux Group has a maritime climate with rainfall averaging anywhere
from about 600 mm to over 800 mm. A generally mild climate it is of course
located in the Bass Strait and subject to the infamous Roaring Forties with
coastal waters being exposed to high seas and strong and variable westerly winds
that can blow unabated for several days during the late winter and spring.
Approximately a third of the islands are dominated by ridges of granite,
including the striking features of the southern part of the Strzelecki Range,
Darling Range, Mt Killiecrankie, the Patriarchs (Flinders Island) and the higher
parts of Cape Barren Island. Half of the islands in the group are coastal sand
dunes. Estuarine beds composed of sands, clays and gravels can be found in the
many low lying areas with many lagoons existing on the eastern coast of Flinders
Island and Cape Barren Island, being filled by the seasonally winter rains.
With such variety of land formation and variable environmental conditions
there are over 800 species of plant to be found across the Furneaux Group of
Islands. The islands also have a scientific significance being that they form a
species boundary, ie being the southern-most location for some species and the
northern-most location for others.
The Furneaux Group is one of four groups of islands in this area of the Bass
Strait, the others being Curtis, Hogan and Kent Groups. The Furneaux Group
contains the only islands with permanent residents, the Flinders Island, Cape
Barren Island and Clarke Islands. Flinders Island has the largest population.
More information is available from the local tourism visitor centre, Tasmania
Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Flinders Council.