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Wardang Island

Known as Wauraltee Island until 1940, the first lease on Wardang Island was issued to Stephen Goldsworthy for a term of 14 years. This lease gave the Narungga the continued right to travel to and from the island, to camp there and fish, hunt and gather. The Narungga had been travelling there for generations, traversing the waters at low tide.

Goldsworthy transferred the lease to the Yorke's Peninsula Mission (later Point Pearce) in 1884, and they used it to graze sheep. Shearing sheds and living quarters were erected, and a school established for the resident families.

In 1900 a number of mineral leases were issued over portions of the island. Broken Hill Associated Smelters (BHAS) started acquiring leases in 1910 and by 1939 they held all of the leases on the island.  Their interest was in the lime sand, which they quarried to use as flux in the smelters of Port Pirie. The extracted sand was loaded onto barges and shipped to Port Pirie one or twice a week.

During this time, the population of the Island grew further, and BHAS built homes, infrastructure and a school to serve its workers and their families.

When limeshell deposits were found in Coffin Bay in the late 1960s BHAS surrendered their leases and in 1969 Wardang was declared a fauna sanctuary. Between 1910 and 1968 more than one million tons of sand was removed from the Island.

With so many ships in the area, servicing Wardang Island and nearby Port Victoria, a lighthouse was built on the island in 1909, but poor visibility in the area limited its effectiveness and several ships still ran into trouble in the vicinity.

In recent years the Department of Environment and Heritage has installed an underwater trail leaving from Port Victoria to feature the many wrecks on the ocean's floor. Eight wrecks are included on the trail; Aagot, Notre Dame D'arvor, Songvaar, Monarch, SS Australian, SS Investigator, Macintyre and Moorara. A ninth wreck, Maid of Australia, lies in the area, but very little remains.

The lease for Wardang Island once again resides with the Narungga of Point Pearce, and those wishing to visit must first obtain permission from the Point Pearce Community Council.

Wardang Island
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Wardang Island, delivering lime sand
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Wardang Island, sand storage bin
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Wardang Island, tram lines
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Wreck of the Aagot
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Wreck of the Songvaar
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