island, Western Australia, Australia
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Garden Island, Australian island in the Indian Ocean, just off the southwest coast of Western Australia, 30 mi (48 km) southwest of Perth. With Green and Penguin islands, it shelters Cockburn Sound (east) and the approaches to the ports of Fremantle, Kwinana, and Rockingham. Measuring 6 mi by 1 mi, it has an area of 2,338 ac (946 ha) and is generally sandy and thickly wooded, rising to 211 ft (65 m) in hills along its western shore. It was sighted in 1801 by the French navigator Capt. J. Hamelin, who called it Île de Bauche. In 1829 a British colony expedition, prevented from landing on the mainland by rough seas, landed on the island instead and there proclaimed the colony. In that same year, Lieut. Gov. Capt. James Stirling planted seeds for a garden, whence the island’s name. This settlement was short-lived, and the island was abandoned for Fremantle. Later in the century, a large bay on its southeast coast was utilized for careening (beaching ships for repairs). During World War II the island was a secret military training base, and in 1978 a naval support facility, HMAS “Stirling,” was commissioned. A causeway (1972) joins the island with the mainland.
This article was most recently revised and updated by Virginia Gorlinski, Associate Editor.
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