Cradle Coast Region
About the area
ABS ERP 2017
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
King Island is named after Governor Philip Gidley King of New South Wales.
Location and boundaries
The King Island Council area is located to the north-west of Tasmania, about 80-90 kilometres from both Victoria and Tasmania. The King Island Council area is surrounded by Bass Strait.
The King Island Council area includes the localities of Bungaree, Currie, Egg Lagoon, Grassy, Loorana, Lymwood, Naracoopa, Nugara, Pearshape, Pegarah, Reekara, Sea Elephant, Surprise Bay, Wickham, Yambacoona and Yarra Creek.
The King Island Council area is predominantly rural, with three small townships. About half of the population live in the township of Currie, with two smaller townships at Grassy and Naracoopa. Rural land is used largely for agriculture (particularly beef and dairy farming), with fishing, kelp harvesting and tourism also being important industries. The King Island Council area encompasses a total land area of about 1,100 square kilometres.
The King Island Council area is served by King Island Airport, the Port of Grassy and the Port of Currie.
King Island was first sighted in 1797, with the first land survey in 1802. Land was leased in the 1830s and used mainly used for grazing, with timber cutting from the 1860s. Population was minimal until 1888 when the Island was opened for settlement and land selection, with growth during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Scheelite mining took place at Grassy from 1904 until 1990, prompting population growth, with the township of Grassy developing to house the miners. The Island had a population of nearly 800 in 1910. During the early 1900s farming continued to grow, particularly dairy farming. Population growth occurred during the post-war years, largely due to soldier settlement schemes. By 1954 the population had increased to about 2,500, and then to 2,800 by 1961. Mining took place at Naracoopa from 1968 till 1977, with kelp harvesting developing as an industry in Currie from 1974. The population declined from the 1970s, falling to about 2,000 in 1986. The population continued to gradually decline from the early 1990s, falling from about 1,800 in 1991 to less than 1,600 in 2011.