Map - Mast Head Island

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Mast Head Island

Masthead Island is a coral cay located in the southern Great Barrier Reef, 60 kilometres northeast of Gladstone, Queensland. The island is a protected area and forms part of Capricornia Cays National Park. Masthead Island is one of the most undisturbed cays in the national park because human and feral animal impacts have been rare. The cay covers an area of 0.45 km2 and is surrounded by a coral reef that is partially exposed at low-tide. It is part of the Capricornia Cays Important Bird Area.

The island is closed to the public from mid-October to Easter to protect nesting seabirds and turtle hatchlings. At other times the island is open for camping, however there are no facilities provided.

Masthead Island was the shooting location for the 2010 film Uninhabited.

Beach rock is well developed along the southern beach and an occurrence of older beach rock is situated some distance from the beach on the north western corner of the cay. Vegetation is similar to that occurring on Heron island.

The vegetation and tree heights and trunk diameters can be used to interpret coral cay dynamics and thus the growth of the cay. It is postulated that the 'nucleus' old growth Pisonia grandis forest pattern (with trees up to 23m high and 2.4m trunk diameter) is in the central western part of this cay and is able to provide identification of the older forested sections of the island.

The Capricorn and Bunker Cays form part of a distinct geomorphic province at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The cays and their reefs lie on the western marginal shelf, and are separated from the mainland by the Curtis Channel. The cays are not generally visible from the mainland, although Masthead Island may be viewed from Mount Larcom on a clear day.

Geologically the cays are young, having developed during the Holocene period, they are mostly around 5000 years old. The sea level was much lower during the last Ice Age (at the end of the Pleistocene period) and the coastal plain on which today’s reefs and cays developed was completely exposed. Early in the Holocene (around 10,000 years ago) the sea level began to rise, until it stabilised at its present level around 6000 years ago. Once the sea level stabilised, it was possible for reef flats to expand and provide potential sites for the formation of cays.

Masthead Island Reef is an Elongate Platform Reef.

The coral cay is a Vegetated sand cay The sand cay is located to the lee of their reef flat.


Map - Mast Head Island

Latitude / Longitude : 23° 32' 17" S / 151° 43' 35" E | Time zone : UTC+10 | Currency : AUD | Telephone : 61  


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Mast Head Island-Known shipwrecks on the reef-StateLibQld 1 106900 Water Witch (ship)
Known shipwrecks on the reef
StateLibQld 1 106900 Water Witch (ship)

Country - Australia

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Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century. It is documented that Aborigines spoke languages that can be classified into about 250 groups. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories.
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