Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island (/h/; formerly Lord Howe's Island) is an irregularly crescent-shaped volcanic remnant in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand, part of the Australian state of New South Wales. It lies 600 km (320 nmi) directly east of mainland Port Macquarie, 780 km (420 nmi) northeast of Sydney, and about 900 km (490 nmi) southwest of Norfolk Island. It is about 10 km (6.2 mi) long and between 0.3 and 2.0 km (0.19 and 1.24 mi) wide with an area of 14.55 km2 (3,600 acres), though just 3.98 km2 (980 acres) of that comprise the low-lying developed part of the island.[5]

Lord Howe Island
Satellite image of the island; north is up
LocationLord Howe Island, Tasman Sea
Coordinates31°33′15″S 159°05′06″E
Total islands28
Major islandsLord Howe Island, Admiralty Group, Mutton Bird Islands, and Balls Pyramid
Area14.55 km2 (5.62 sq mi)
Highest elevation875 m (2871 ft)
Highest pointMount Gower
Administrative DivisionUnincorporated area of New South Wales
Self-governed by the Lord Howe Island Board[1]
Part of the electoral district of Port Macquarie[2]
Part of the Division of Sydney[3]
  • 382
  • Tourists are restricted to 400 at any time.
(2016 census)[4]
Pop. density26.25/km2 (67.99/sq mi)
Additional information
Time zone
  Summer (DST)
Official nameLord Howe Island Group
Criteriavii, x
Designated1982 (6th session)
Reference no.186
State PartyAustralia
Official nameLord Howe Island Group, Lord Howe Island, NSW, Australia
Designated21 May 2007
Reference no.105694
File number1/00/373/0001
Official nameLord Howe Island Group
TypeState heritage (landscape)
Designated2 April 1999
Reference no.970
TypeOther - Landscape - Cultural
CategoryLandscape - Cultural

Along the west coast is a sandy semi-enclosed sheltered coral reef lagoon. Most of the population lives in the north, while the south is dominated by forested hills rising to the highest point on the island, Mount Gower (875 m, 2,871 ft).[6] The Lord Howe Island Group[6] comprises 28 islands, islets, and rocks. Apart from Lord Howe Island itself, the most notable of these is the volcanic and uninhabited Ball's Pyramid about 23 km (14 mi; 12 nmi) to the southeast of Howe. To the north lies a cluster of seven small uninhabited islands called the Admiralty Group.[7]

The first reported sighting of Lord Howe Island took place on 17 February 1788, when Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, commander of the Armed Tender HMS Supply, was en route from Botany Bay to found a penal settlement on Norfolk Island.[8] On the return journey, Ball sent a party ashore on Lord Howe Island to claim it as a British possession.[9] It subsequently became a provisioning port for the whaling industry,[10] and was permanently settled in June 1834.[11] When whaling declined, the 1880s saw the beginning of the worldwide export of the endemic kentia palms,[12] which remains a key component of the island's economy. The other continuing industry, tourism, began after World War II ended in 1945.

The Lord Howe Island Group is part of the state of New South Wales[13] and is regarded legally as an unincorporated area administered by the Lord Howe Island Board,[13] which reports to the New South Wales Minister for Environment and Heritage.[13] The island's standard time zone is UTC+10:30, or UTC+11 when daylight saving time applies.[14] The currency is the Australian dollar. Commuter airlines provide flights to Sydney, Brisbane, and Port Macquarie.

UNESCO records the Lord Howe Island Group as a World Heritage Site of global natural significance.[15] Most of the island is virtually untouched forest, with many of the plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Other natural attractions include the diversity of the landscapes, the variety of upper mantle and oceanic basalts, the world's southernmost barrier coral reef, nesting seabirds, and the rich historical and cultural heritage.[16] The Lord Howe Island Act 1981 established a "Permanent Park Preserve" (covering about 70% of the island).[14] The island was added to the Australian National Heritage List on 21 May 2007[17] and the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.[18] The surrounding waters are a protected region designated the Lord Howe Island Marine Park.[19]