Turtle Group National Park Tropical North Queensland

Nature, culture and history

Culture and history

The islands and surrounding reefs and waters are important to the Traditional Owners of the area. They not only provided food and materials but they sustained their spirituality. Today their connection to country remains.

Shared-history culture

On 12 August 1770, the then Lieutenant James Cook sent the ship master of HMB Endeavour, Robert Molyneux, to survey a passage through the islands now known as the Turtle Group National Park. This was the ninth landing made by the crew.

The islands were originally designated letters of the alphabet instead of names. This became difficult to work with and in 1939 the Sailing Directions for Queensland decided to rename the islands. They retained the original designated letter as the first letter of the new name e.g. ‘N’ became Nymph Island, ‘I’ became Iris Island.

Coconut plantations and even an old well remain evidence of early exploration. There are also several ship wrecks adjacent to the islands of the Turtle Group.

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