Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island

Infobox Islands
name = Lord Howe Island

image caption = Unofficial but regularly-flown flag of Lord Howe Island

native name =
native name link =
location = Lord Howe Island Group
coordinates= coord|31|33|S|159|05|E|
archipelago =
total islands =
major islands =
area = convert|56|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on
highest mount = Mount Gower
elevation = 875 m (2,870 ft)
country = Australia
country admin divisions title = Administrative Division
country admin divisions = Unincorporated area of New South Wales
self-governed by Lord Howe Island Board
Part of the electoral district of Port Macquarie
Part of the Division of Sydney
country largest city =
country largest city population =
country 1 =
country 1 admin divisions title =
country 1 admin divisions =
country 1 largest city =
country 1 largest city population =
country 2 =
country 2 admin divisions title =
country 2 admin divisions =
country 2 largest city =
country 2 largest city population =
population = 350 permanent residents. Tourists are restricted to 400 at any one time.
population as of =
density = PD km2 to mi2|23.97|precision=1|abbr=yes
ethnic groups =

Lord Howe Island (pronEng|ˈhaʊ) is a small island in the Pacific Ocean convert|600|km|mi|0 east of the Australian mainland. Along with Ball's Pyramid, it is administered by the Lord Howe Island Board, one of 175 local authorities in the state of New South Wales, and is part of the Mid-North Coast Statistical Division. It is not considered a Local Government Area and is therefore unincorporated (as is the Unincorporated Far West Region), but is self-governed by the Lord Howe Island Board [http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/B6FC650DDE89627CCA256EA00079B950/$File/13621_2004.pdf] . The Lord Howe Island group was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1982 in recognition of its unique beauty and biodiversity. The Lord Howe Island Marine Park and Lord Howe Island Marine Park (Commonwealth waters) protect the waters surrounding the island group.

The island's standard time zone is . During daylight saving time this shifts by half an hour to UTC+11.


Lord Howe Island was discovered on 17 February 1788 by HMS "Supply", commanded by Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, RN, who was on his way from Botany Bay to Norfolk Island with convicts to start a penal settlement there. On his return journey on 13 March 1788 he sent a party ashore on the island. It was uninhabited, and it seems that it had not been known to any of the Polynesian peoples of the South Pacific. Mount Lidgbird on the island and the nearby Ball's Pyramid are named after Ball. The island itself was named after Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe who was First Lord of the Admiralty.

Many government ships sailing between New South Wales and Norfolk Island stopped at the island, as did some whaling and trading vessels. Some ships left goats and pigs on the island for food for future visitors but a permanent settlement wasn't established until 1834 at an area known today as Old Settlement.

Until 1974 there was no airstrip and the only way to reach it by air was in a flying boat from Rose Bay in Sydney that landed on the lagoon surrounded by the coral reef. In 2002 the Royal Navy Destroyer HMS Nottingham struck Wolf Rock, a reef at Lord Howe Island, and almost sank. [Cite news |title=Battle to save stricken warship |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2112710.stm |date=2002-07-07 |publisher=BBC News |accessdate=2007-03-08]


Lord Howe island is roughly crescent-shaped, about 10 km (6 miles) long and 2 km (1 mile) wide. It is an eroded remnant of a 7 million-year-old shield volcano. The crescent of the island protects a coral reef and lagoon. The Lord Howe seamount chain, defined by coral-capped guyots, extends to the north for 1000 km (600 mi), most likely the result of the Indo-Australian Plate moving northward over a stationary hotspot (see plate tectonics). This chain is one of a number of features found on the plateau known as the Lord Howe Rise, part of the submerged continent of Zealandia.

Mount Lidgbird Convert|777|m|ft|0 and Mount Gower Convert|875|m|ft|0|abbr=on|abbr=on dominate the south end of the island. They are both made of basalt rock, remnants of lava flows that once filled a large volcanic caldera. These lava flows occurred 6.4 million years ago, and were the last volcanic events on the island, which has subsequently eroded to what remains today.

The coral barrier reef, at 31° S, is the most southerly in the world.

Ball's Pyramid is a rocky islet located 16 km (10 mi) south of Lord Howe Island, and also the remnant of an eroded volcano. It is the largest of several volcanic stacks that form islets in the area.

Flora and fauna

Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Lord Howe Island Group

State Party = AUS
Type = Natural
Criteria = vii, x
ID = 186
Region = Asia-Pacific
Year = 1982
Session = 6th
Link = http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/186

Lord Howe island is a distinct terrestrial ecoregion, known as the Lord Howe Island subtropical forests. It is part of the Australasia ecozone, and shares many biotic affinities with Australia, New Guinea, and New Caledonia. Lord Howe Island was never part of a continent, and all of its flora and fauna colonized the island from across the sea. Almost half of the island's native plants are endemic. One of the best known is "Howea", an endemic genus of palms ("Arecaceae") that are commonly known as kentia palms and make handsome houseplants. Several million are exported annually providing the only major industry on the island apart from tourism.

Another endemic feature of the island are the glowing mushrooms, which can be seen after heavy rain. Found in the palm forests, they continue glowing for a number of days after being picked. The glow is so bright that you can read by it in the dark. 14 species of seabirds and 18 species of landbirds breed on the island group, including an endemic species, the Lord Howe Woodhen ("Gallirallus sylvestris") and 3 endemic subspecies, the Lord Howe Golden Whistler ("Pachycephala pectoralis contempta"), the Lord Howe White-eye ("Zosterops lateralis tephropleurus") and the Lord Howe Currawong ("Strepera graculina crissalis").

A number of endemic bird species and subspecies have become extinct since the arrival of humans on the island. The Lord Howe Swamphen or White Gallinule ("Porphyrio albus"), the White-throated Pigeon ("Columba vitiensis godmanae"), Red-fronted Parakeet ("Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens") and the Tasman Booby ("Sula tasmani")were eliminated by settlers during the nineteenth century. The accidental introduction of the Black Rat in the 1918 shipwreck of the Makambo triggered a second wave of extinctions including the Vinous-tinted Thrush ("Turdus poliocephalus vinitinctus"), the Robust White-eye ("Zosterops strenuus") and the Lord Howe Starling ("Alponis fusca hulliana"), the Lord Howe Fantail ("Rhipidura fuliginosa cervina") and the Lord Howe Gerygone ("Gerygone insularis").

Only one native mammal remains on the islands, the large forest bat ("Eptesicus sagittula"). The endemic bat species "Nyctophilus howensis" is known only from a skull and is now presumed extinct. The cause of its extinction may have been predation by Masked Owl, introduced to the island in the 1920s to control rats. The Masked Owl may also have caused the extinction of the Lord Howe Boobook ("Ninox novaeseelandiae albaria").

Two terrestrial reptiles are native to the island group: a skink ("Leiolopisma lichenigera")) and a gecko ("Phyllodactylus guentheri"). Both are rare on the main island but more common on smaller islands offshore. Another skink ("Lampropholis delicata") and the Bleating Tree Frog ("Litoria dentata") have been accidentally introduced from the Australian mainland in recent years.

The Lord Howe Island stick insect ("Dryococelus australis") disappeared from the main island soon after the introduction of Black rats. In 2001 a tiny population was discovered in a single ("Melaleuca howeana") shrub on the slopes of Ball's Pyramid.

Another endemic invertebrate, the Lord Howe Placostylus, has also been affected by the introduction of the black rat. Once common, the species is now endangered and a captive breeding program is under way to save the snail from extinction.

Australian underwater photographer Neville Coleman has a book "1001 Nudibranches - Catalog of Indo-Pacific Sea Slugs" that features many photographs of various nudibranches taken in Lord Howe' Island.

Over 400 fish species are found in the waters around Lord Howe including 9 endemic to the region. Over 80 species of coral occur in the reefs surrounding the islands.

About 10 percent of Lord Howe Island's forests have been cleared for agriculture, and another 20 percent has been disturbed by domestic cattle and feral sheep, goats, and pigs. Despite a large number of introduced species that harm Lord Howe's native flora and fauna, feral pigs have recently been eliminated from the island, the goat population has been reduced, and there are ongoing efforts to control rats, mice, and introduced plants. A recovery program has restored the Lord Howe Woodhen numbers from only 20 in 1970 to approximately 200.


According to the analysis in Tim Flannery's book "The Weather Makers", the ecosystem of Lord Howe Island would be threatened by climate change and global warming. The reefs would be at risk from rises in water temperature. The Great Barrier Reef is specifically identified as being at risk to the effects of global warming on Australia, and the same analysis applies to the reefs of Lord Howe Island. [Jones, R.N. (2004) Managing Climate Change Risks, in Agrawala, S. and Corfee-Morlot, J. (eds.), The Benefits of Climate Change Policies: Analytical and Framework Issues, OECD, Paris, 249–298, cited in the CSIRO's Climate Change Impacts on Australia and the Benefits of Early Action to Reduce Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions" [http://www.csiro.au/files/files/p6fy.pdf] ] Cool climate flora and fauna would be at risk from rises in temperature, as those on or near the top of Mount Gower cannot migrate higher to stay within their preferred temperature range. Many bird species are also under constant threat in the island as a result of rats. The island's bird population has been significantly reduced by them and some species have already been wiped out because of rats.

ee also

*Jim Lacey - Former administrator of Lord Howe Island beginning in 1983. cite news |first=Bill|last=North|title=Death of zoo pioneer |url=http://dubbo.yourguide.com.au/news/local/general/death-of-zoo-pioneer/1184921.html |work= Dubbo Daily Liberal |publisher=|date=2008-02-18 |accessdate=2008-02-21]
*Lord Howe Island Airport




External links

* [http://lordhoweisland.info/ Lord Howe Island Tourism Association web site] (Regarded by local residents as the "Official" home page)
* [http://environment.gov.au/heritage/places/world/lord-howe/index.html World heritage listing for Lord Howe Island]
* [http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/aa/aa0109_full.html Lord Howe Island subtropical forests (World Wide Fund for Nature)]
* [http://www.fnpw.org.au/enews3/lhiPhasmid.htm Rodent eradication on Lord Howe Island (Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife)]
* [http://www.janeresture.com/lord_howe/index.htm Jane's Lord Howe Island Page]
* [http://www.nmm.ac.uk/collections/explore/object.cfm?ID=G262%3A16%2F2 Chart of Lord Howe Island] by J. Stockdale from 1789, at the National Maritime Museum
* [http://www.wikiscuba.com/wiki/index.php/Lord_Howe_Island Wikiscuba - Lord Howe Island]
* [http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/australia/balls_pyramid/howe.html Maps]
* [http://beetlespace.wz.cz/e_Lamprima_insularis.html Lamprima insularis - Lord Howe Island endemic species]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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