Wedge Island (Western Australia) facts for kids
The name mainly refers to the mainland settlement but also refers to a 400-metre (1,300 ft) long wedge shaped island located just south of "the point". The settlement of Grey is about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north-west. Both are within the Shire of Dandaragan.
The island occupies an area 4.03 hectares (9.96 acres) and is situated 200 metres (656 ft) from the mainland. The island has a maximum elevation of 21 m (69 ft).
It lies within the Turquoise Coast islands nature reserve group, a chain of 40 islands spread over a distance of 150 kilometres (93 mi) from north to south.
Wedge Island was named after government surveyor Charles Wedge, in 1875 by Staff-Commander William Edwin Archdeacon R.N., who was in charge of the Admiralty survey of the coast of Western Australia.
The settlement is now home to approximately 350 beach shacks on unvested land that are used by crayfishermen and holiday-goers. A new sealed road, Indian Ocean Drive was opened in September 2010 which provides 2WD access to Wedge. There are claims that this has changed the local environment. The road, intended to promote tourism is well known for a number of serious vehicle crashes since it opened.
Wedge can also be accessed in a 4WD vehicle, via the beach if the tide is out. The beach is very soft during summer and many vehicles become bogged or are swept into the water. There is no access at any time through the military range. Trespassers face large fines and possible loss of their vehicle if caught.
Wedge is often quiet during the cooler months but during major public holidays such as Christmas, New Year's Day and Australia Day there are people in nearly every shack. Camping in the area is now officially prohibited. However it has been estimated that 14,000 individuals may use the shacks at Wedge and Grey. There are no shops nor running water, and generators are common without mains electricity. Activities include four wheel driving, sand boarding, surfing and kitesurfing, fishing, swimming and snorkeling. Motorbike riding has been banned in the area surrounding Wedge Island after many accidents resulted in people needing to be air lifted to get medical attention. The ranger now hands out fines to those caught using unlicensed vehicles in the vicinity, or leaving rubbish there.
A man was fatally stabbed during a beach party on the northern side of Wedge in December 2013, after a brawl broke out. The New Year's Eve party involved more than 600 people.
The WA Government has considered the removal of the shacks on Wedge in line with government policy. In March 2010, the Minister for the Environment Donna Faragher announced that she would not be seeking an end to the leases at Wedge and Grey until compromise options were considered by government. In April 2011, a WA Legislative Council Standing Committee found that coastal shacks should be removed to protect the environment from "unplanned growth". The shack leases were due to expire on 30 June 2011 but the Wedge community won a one-year renewal for all occupied facilities.
Wedge and Grey are in an area subject to summer bushfires and visitors in beach shacks are sometimes asked to relocate.
Wedge Island (Western Australia) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.