James Cook named the islands Furneaux’s Islands, after Tobias Furneaux. Flinders named the largest island in the group “Great Island”. He also named a group of mountains on Flinders Island, the “Three Patriarchs”. The small island just to the east, Flinders named “Babel Island” from the noises made by the seabirds there.
Phillip Parker King later named the largest island Flinders Island, after Matthew Flinders.There are three islands named “Flinders’ Island”—the large island on the east side of Bass Strait, named by Phillip Parker King; an island in the Investigator Group of South Australia, named by Matthew Flinders after his young brother Samuel Flinders (midshipman on the Investigator); and an island in the Flinders Group north of Cooktown, Queensland was named after Matthew Flinders.
In the late 18th century, the island was frequented by sealers and Aboriginal women, the majority of whom had been kidnapped from their mainland tribes. Seal stocks soon collapsed, causing the last sealing permit to be issued in 1828. Many sealers’ families chose to stay in the Furneaux Group, subsisting on cattle grazing and muttonbirding.
From 1830, the remnants of the Tasmanian Aboriginal population were exiled to Settlement Point (or Wybalenna, meaning Black Man’s House) on Flinders Island. These 160 survivors were deemed to be safe from white settlers here, but conditions were poor, and the relocation scheme was short-lived. In 1847, after a campaign by the Aboriginal population against their Commandant, Henry Jeanneret, which involved a petition to Queen Victoria, the remaining 47 Aboriginals were again relocated, this time to Oyster Cove Station, an ex-convict settlement 56 kilometres south of Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, where Truganini, the last full-blood Tasmanian Aborigine, died in 1876.[dubious – discuss]
From the late 19th century freehold land was given out, but it was not until the 1950s that a proper settlement scheme was initiated, mainly drawing settlers from mainland Tasmania and central New South Wales to Flinders Island’s eastern shore. The Municipality of Flinders Island was instituted in 1903.
Geography and nature
The island forms part of the state of Tasmania, and part of the Municipality of Flinders Island local government area. Flinders Island is only one of the many islands included in the Municipal area. Of these islands Flinders Island is the only island with more than one permanent settlement, and is by far the largest in the Furneaux Group.
The island is about 62 km from north to south, and 37 km from east to west with a total land area of 1,333 km². Mount Strzelecki in the south west is the island’s highest peak at 756 m. About a third of the island is mountainous and rugged with ridges of granite running the length of the island. The coastal areas are dominated by sandy deposits often taking the shape of dunes. Many coastal lagoons punctuate the eastern shore, formed by dunes blocking further drainage. This drainage is mainly provided by many small streams, few of them permanently flowing directly leading to the waters of Bass Strait or such a lagoon.
The coastal areas are mainly covered in scrub or shrubs, whereas the vegetation at a higher elevation consists of woodland, mainly eucalyptus species. The total number of plant species in the Furneaux Group well exceeds 800, showing the great biodiversity of its ecosystem. Animal species include Bennett’s wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus), brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), Cape Barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae), short-tailed shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris), eastern pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus), potoroo (Potorous apicalis), common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), Tasmanian pademelon (Thylogale billardierii), and Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus).The area surrounding Mount Strzelecki in the south west of the island constitutes Strzelecki National Park. The island also supports a population of feral turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo).
(text from Wikipedia)