Kooragang Island



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Modern day Kooragang Island is made up of reclaimed land that has brought together a number of islands into one, including Ash Island, Moscheto Island, Dempsey Island, Walsh Island and Spectacle Islands. The purpose of this reclamation was to establish an industrial area, but constant flooding has limited this idea. The former islands were used by the Worimi Aboriginal people for hunting and gathering purposes.



Ash Island became the property of A W Scott in 1827, where he grew various fruit and vegetables. It was further sub-divided in the 1860s, with a small farming community established (including members of my family). The farmers were all but forced from the land by constant flooding, especially the large flood of 1955. The former Ash Island site is now managed by the Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project (since 1993). The wetland project is made up of the Ash Island site, an area at Tomago which has no public access and the Stockton High Tide area (near Stockton Bridge).

In my opinion there are no areas of spectacular scenery to take in the bushwalker, but this is not Kooragang Island's claim. Rather than tremendous vistas, the island provides a haven for various bird species, thereby providing a wonderful opportunity to view a great variety of bird species in their natural habitat. Kooragang is a great place for bird-watching in a wetland setting. Of course it is also an important fish breeding area.

Opportunities exist to view wading birds on the mud flats feeding on crabs, worms and other creatures at low tide and roosting in the saltmarsh and mangroves during high tide. A great number of species (over 200) can be found at various times of the year (including some 34 migratory species), including the Eastern Curlew, White-Fronted Chat, Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper, White-Faced Heron and Red-Necked Avocet. The best time to view the migratory species of birds is from October to April.

There is said to be some ten species of crab on Kooragang Island. The wetlands also provide habitat for the endangered Green and Golden Bellfrog, in areas of freshwater wetland, not subject to saltwater incursion.

Small areas of coastal rainforest also exist on Ash Island, with the majority having been destroyed by early timber-getters in the early 1800s, including the virtual removal of all cedar and ash trees.

The Ash Island section of Kooragang Island is reached via the Pacific Highway and Ash Island Bridge (near Hexham McDonald's).



Welcome Walk:

The Welcome Walk is a short duration (20 minute) easy walk on a boardwalk through remnants of rainforest, saltmarsh and mangrove forest, including a visit to the old Ash Island Schoolmaster's House (built in the 1890s), which is now the Visitors Centre.


Cobban's Mangrove Track:

The Cobban's Mangrove Track is an easy 2km (30 minute) walk starting from the Visitors Centre, taking in mangroves near Cobban's Creek.


Leichardt's Loop:

Leichardt's Loop is an easy 60 minute walk taking in the Frog Pond, Crabhole Creek and remnants of rainforest.


Scott's Point Walk:

Scott's Point Walk takes about 60-80 minutes to complete, taking in remnants of rainforest, views of the Hunter River and mangroves. Scott's Point is the site of the first European settlement on Ash Island.


Kooragang City Farm Loop:

The City Farm Loop is an easy 60 minute stroll taking in the various sections of the farm. It also takes in areas of saltmarsh, mangroves and the ruins of Milham's Farm and Dairy.


Helena's Flora Walk:

Helena's Flora Walk is an easy 20 minute stroll taking in the arboretum and the World War II radar station site.



The farm site is basically a research facility started in 1966, where farming methods used alongside wetland areas is investigated. Research includes beef cattle production, eucalypt forestry, bush food, market gardens and fruit growing.

Located in the City Farm area are the ruins of Milham's Farmhouse and Dairy. The farm was established in the 1860s.


DAY TRIP - AUGUST 16, 2003:

The photos below were taken during the day trip to the Ash Island site of the Kooragang Island Rehabilitation Project on August 16, 2003. Click on a photo for a larger picture.


ABOVE: Kooragang Wetlands Information Centre - Old Schoolmaster's House (1890s)


ABOVE: Boardwalk - Welcome Walk


ABOVE: Mangrove Forest Viewed during the Welcome Walk


ABOVE: Mangrove Forest Viewed during the Welcome Walk


ABOVE: The Swan Pond - Birds


ABOVE: The Swan Pond area


ABOVE: Swan Pond Area


ABOVE: Eastern Curlew viewed from the Wagtail Way

ABOVE: Eastern Curlew viewed from the Wagtail Way








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