- Location (64 Kb)
- Islands of the Group (255 Kb)
- Topography and Drainage of the Main Islands (275 Kb)
- Deal Island Lightstation (317 Kb)
- Development Zones (171 Kb)
Kent Group National Park is Tasmania’s newest national park. Named after the captain of the first fleet vessel Supply, the Kent Group is an archipelago of five main islands and associated off-shore rocks with a total area of 2,374 hectares. It is isolated from mainland Tasmania on the northern side of Bass Strait and access is by boat or helicopter. While Deal and Erith, the two largest islands of the group, are quite easy for the mariner to land on, the other islands are much more difficult to land on and have been little visited.
The Deal Island Lightstation, an historic heritage site of outstanding significance, is one of the most important lightstations in Australia and is on the Register of the National Estate as well as the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
Several sites relating to Aboriginal occupation are known and are of particular significance in assisting develop an understanding of the settlement of Tasmania by Aboriginal people.
The islands of the park have major nature conservation significance in providing breeding habitat for seals and seabirds. Two small islets, North East and South West islands, support large colonies of breeding seabirds including penguins, shearwater, fairy prion, Pacific gull, common diving petrel and sooty oystercatcher. Judgment Rocks, an islet of the park, supports the largest Australian fur seal breeding colony in Tasmania.
Five sites of geoconservation significance have been recorded. The islands have important natural and cultural landscape values, along with the aesthetic values associated with remoteness and isolation. The park flora has biogeographic significance, being transitional between mainland and Tasmania floras. Of all the larger Bass Strait Islands, Dover Island may well be the least disturbed by human influences. Its heath communities are unique and only reserved in this location. Within the broader park there are 14 individual species listed under the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.
The primary recreation value of the park is as an off-shore destination for Victorian pleasure-boat owners. Other visitors include the ‘Erith Mob’, sea kayakers and commercial fishers. Visitor numbers are less than 1000 per annum.
Threats to Park Values
Given the isolation of the park, the critical management issue is how to provide adequate protection to values, particularly the lightstation on Deal Island. A management presence is considered the prime requisite. The cost to the Crown of providing a ranger presence, or alternatively supporting a volunteer presence, is considerable.
Other major management issues include wildfires, weeds, introduced pests including cats and rabbits, and vulnerability to increased disturbance of important breeding habitat for seals and seabirds on the more isolated islets of the park. Summary 2 Kent Group National Park (Terrestrial Portion) Management Plan 2005
A future visitor to Kent Group National Park finds an intact and well-presented lightstation on Deal Island, healthy natural biodiversity free of exotic species (both flora and fauna), and viable populations of all indigenous species. The park continues to provide a safe breeding haven for key species such as the Australian fur seal and many seabird species.
Relatively small numbers of visitors enjoy the park for its special natural and cultural landscapes. Visitor facilities are relatively few, unobtrusive and basic in character.
The plan provides a clear basis for the management of the values of the park. Prior to this management plan being prepared, Deal Island has been the subject of two separate ‘expression of interest’ processes to locate a tourism operator interested in establishing on the island. It has been considered that, if successful, a partnership arrangement between the Crown and an operator could provide long-term benefits to both parties. Many potential benefits could accrue to the Crown, most importantly a permanent management presence on Deal Island. Commercial benefit could accrue to the tourism operator. The current ‘expressions of interest’ process has been put on hold while this plan is developed. A major purpose of this plan then is the establishment of ground rules for the development of such a partnership in the park.
The major plan initiative aimed at long-term conservation of the heritage values of the lightstation is the establishment of a commercial basis for future permanent occupation of Deal Island. Pivotal here is the provision of defined development rights both within the lightstation residential precinct and outside it. Development rights within the lightstation residential precinct are designed to assist the maintenance of this residential function. Development rights outside the lightstation residential precinct are limited to the Visitor Services Zone on Erith Island and the Conservation 2 Zone (with special use overlay) on Deal Island. Development rights associated with the Conservation Zone 2 (with special use overlay) will lapse if an ‘in principle’ agreement is not in place within one year of the plan being finalised.
To protect the important natural and cultural landscapes of the park a zoning system is proposed to guide future development into less sensitive areas. An important initiative of the plan is further protection of vulnerable seabird breeding habitat on the three small islets in the park. There are key outcomes with respect to erosion, weed management, exotic animal management and monitoring.