- Pedra Branca (Tasmania)
Pedra Branca is a 2.5 ha rock or small
islandabout 26 km (16 mi) south-south-east of South East Cape, Tasmania, in south-eastern Australia. It is known for its inaccessibility, rich marine wildlife, wet and windy weather, interesting geology and large waves. It is part of the Southwest National Park, and thus in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site.
The name means "White Rock" in Portuguese. According to historian
Kenneth McIntyre, Pedra Branca is one of only two Australian places with a name of Portuguese origin, the other being the Houtman Abrolhosislands in Western Australia.
Abel Tasmanled the first known European expedition to sight Tasmania. His journal entry for 29 November 1642[cite web|last=Heeres |first=J E (Editor)|authorlink= |coauthors= | date=2006 | url=http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600571h.html |title=Abel Janszoon Tasman's Journal of his Discovery of Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand in 1642 with Documents Relating to his Exploration of Australia in 1644...to which are added his Life and Labours, 1898 |format= |work=|pages= |publisher= [http://gutenberg.net.au Project Gutenberg of Australia] | language= |accessdate=2006-07-09 ] records that he observed a rock which was similar to a rock named Pedra Branca off China, presumably referring to the Pedra Branca in the South China Sea. The journal places Pedra Branca "about convert|4|mi|km" from the mainland of Tasmania, however a Dutch mile from this period was about 5.8 km, thus 4 such Dutch miles would be 23 km, which is close to the actual distance of Pedra Branca from South East Cape.
On 7 February 1973 Nisshin Maru No.8, a Japanese steel
fishing vesselof 254 gross tons led by Captain Nakayama, on its way to Hobart for a mechanical inspection, hit Pedra Branca and sank in deep water within a few minutes. In the ensuing confusion only one of the crew of 22, engineer Yoshiichi Meguro, managed to clamber onto the rocks and escape drowning. The fishing vessel Walrus rescued the survivor.
The Nisshin Maru No.8 disaster led to considerable improvements in communications between the various authorities that should have been able to mount a rescue operation many hours before this one was commenced. These included direct links between Japanese fishing boats and Australian shore stations, and correcting the inability of fishing vessels to directly contact warships and military aircraft, as they were unable to contact the Hobart emergency radio station which did not operate at night.
Pedra Branca is an erosional remnant of the Tasmanian mainland. It is approximately 270 metres (885 ft) long, 100 metres (330 ft) wide, and 60 metres (200 ft) high. This is small enough to provide an example of an outcrop that lies on the border between being a rock or
isletand an island. The island is estimated to have separated from the mainland at least 15,000 years agocite web|last=|first= |authorlink= |coauthors= | date= | url=http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/wildlife/reptile/Nivpal.html |title=Pedra Branca Skink |format= |work= |pages= 563-569|publisher= [http://www.parks.tas.gov.au Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania] | doi=|accessdate=2006-07-16 ] .
The geology features three
brecciacones of doleriteand sandstonecite web|last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= | date=2002 | url=http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/IslandCare/southern_islands.pdf |title=Small Southern Islands Conservation Management Statement 2002 |format=PDF |work= |pages= |publisher= Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service| doi= |accessdate=2006-07-16 ] .
Weather conditions in the area can be extreme, and Pedra Branca is occasionally swept by
freak waves. On 15 April 2003oceanographer Hamish Saunders drowned after being washed off Pedra Branca. The Coroner's Report cite web|last=Coroner |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= | date=2004-11-05 |url=http://www.magistratescourt.tas.gov.au/coronial_findings/503_of_2004 |title=Coronial Findings, drowning 15th April 2003 of Hamish Alan Saunders |format= |work= |pages= |publisher=Magistrates Court of Tasmania | language= |accessdate=2006-06-05 |curly= ] into his death includes reports from three witnesses who describe how Saunders was swept away when a "wave hit the island resulting in heavy spray coming up to and over the 45 metre (148 ft) level". Waves were measured that day at up to 13.8 metres (45.3 ft) by the Cape Sorell Waverider Buoy, some 100 kilometres (62 miles) away.
Flora and fauna
The only plant species found on the island is the succulent "
Sarcocornia quinqueflora". Recorded breeding seabirdspecies include Fairy Prion, Pacific Gull, Silver Gull, Kelp Gull, Black-faced Cormorant, Australasian Gannet, and Shy Albatross. Australian Fur Seals use the island as a regular haul-out site while New Zealand Fur Seals visit occasionally.Brothers, Nigel; Pemberton, David; Pryor, Helen; & Halley, Vanessa. (2001). "Tasmania’s Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features". Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart. ISBN 0-7246-4816-X]
Remarkably, the tiny, windswept island is the only known habitat of a species of lizard, the
Pedra Branca Skink, "Niveoscincus palfreymani", which has survived for an estimated 15,000 years since Pedra Branca was separated from the Tasmanian mainland. An estimated 400 individuals survive, but the species is listed as Vulnerable.
*Eddystone is only 2.2 km away.
South East Cape
List of islands of Australia
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Look at other dictionaries:
Pedra Branca — Pedra Branca, meaning white rock in Portuguese, may refer to:* Pedra Branca, Ceará, municipality in northeastern Ceará, Brazil * Pedra Branca do Amapari, municipality in Amapá, Brazil * Pedra Branca, Singapore, outlying island of Singapore **… … Wikipedia
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Pedra Branca Skink — Pedra Branca Cool skink or Pedra Branca Skink Conservation status Vulnerable (IUCN 2.3) Scientific classification … Wikipedia
Pedra Branca — /ˌpɛdrə ˈbræŋkə/ (say .pedruh brangkuh) noun an uninhabited rocky islet off the south coast of Tasmania; the most southerly point of Australia … Australian English dictionary
Eddystone (Tasmania) — Eddystone is a tower shaped rock or small island, 30 m high and 27 km from South East Cape on a bearing of 149°, in Tasmania, Australia. It is known for its inaccessibility and distinctive shape. It is part of the Southwest National Park, and… … Wikipedia
Mewstone, Tasmania — Mewstone is an oval 13.1 ha island, composed of muscovite granite, with steep cliffs and a small flat summit. It is part of the Pedra Branca Group, lying 12 km south east of Maatsuyker Island, and 22 km off the south coast of Tasmania in south… … Wikipedia
Эддистон (скала, Австралия) — Координаты: 43°51′18″ ю. ш. 147°00′00″ в. д. / 43.855° ю. ш. 147° в. д. … Википедия
Shy Albatross — Conservation status Near Threatened … Wikipedia
Mewstone — is an important breeding site for Shy Albatrosses Mewstone is an oval 13.1 ha island, composed of muscovite granite, with steep cliffs and a small flat summit. It is part of the Pedra Branca G … Wikipedia
Maatsuyker Islands — Aerial view of the group from the west. Needle Rocks are on the right. Just to the left of them is Maatsuyker Island. De Witt is the larger island on the left. Tasmania and South East Cape are in the background. View was computer generated from… … Wikipedia