Lady Musgrave Island and Lagoon is a true coral cay situated
32 nautical miles from the Town of 1770
and and 51nm (100km) north
of Bundaberg. Lady Musgrave
National Park is a tropical paradise abundant in pisonia forests
and bird life. The island is set on 3000 acres of living reef with a deepwater
coral lagoon which is unique to the entire Great Barrier Reef Region.
the cay’s edge exposed to wind and salt spray grows a fringe vegetation
of plants such as casuarinas, pandanus, argusia and scaevola. They
protect the shady pisonia forest on the inner part of the island.
Pisonia Grandis, the islands most common tree, can be recognised by its
broad light green leaves and soft wood. Pisonias are well adapted for
island life, with an ability to regenerate from fallen trunks or limbs.
During summer they produce large numbers of sticky seed clusters, which
stick to birds feathers and are thus transported between islands.
noddies (black noddies) nest in large numbers on Lady Musgrave Island
from October to March with a peak in December. The noddies feed on small
surface swimming fish during the day and return to the island at night.
Their droppings provide a vital fertiliser from the sea and enable the
islands vegetation to develop.
Between October and May, the wedge-tailed
shearwaters (mutton birds) are present on the island. During the day the
shearwaters feed at sea returning to the island at dusk. The many
shearwater burrows in the outer zone of the pisonia forest make the area
difficult to walk through and should be avoided during the nesting
season, as the burrows collapse easily, causing the death of the
Musgrave is an important nesting site for both green and loggerhead
turtles, with green turtles being more common. Nesting usually occurs at
night during high tide, with the main season from late November to
January. Hatchlings emerge from nests in the sand from about mid January
until late March, mostly from late afternoon to midnight.
Green turtles are under threat throughout the world. The rookeries of
Queensland are some of the few protected areas left for these gentle
animals to nest. They and their nests are fully protected by law.
The island was named
after Jeannie the American born wife of a Queensland
Governor Sir Anthony Musgrave. It is some 14
hectares (35 acres) in area. Properly described as a wooded sandy
cay. It has been built by wind driven waves pushing coral rubble,
sand and broken shells to one end of the reef. Now it is held
together by the roots of trees and shrubs fertilised by droppings,
called "Guano", from countless sea birds, who feed on fish plucked
from the ocean, and rest and breed on the island. There is no soil
or rocks there anywhere near the ocean's surface, such as we know of
on land. Any soil you might see comes from sand, the guano and a
compost of dead leaves and trees.
The lagoon is surrounded by
a great oblong coral ring striving to grow outwards which has collapsed
in the centre. Overall the reef and lagoon covers about 1,190 hectares
(3,000 acres). Yachts and trawlers anchor in the lagoon after entering
through the entrance which is the only deepwater access.