Lord Howe Island is located in the South Pacific some 700 km north-east of Sydney. It measures 11 km long by 2.8 km at its widest and covers an area of 14 sq km. At its southern end are two towering rocky mountains - Mt Gower (866m) and Mt Lidgbird (764m). 18 km south of the island is Ball's Pyramid, which is the highest single rock in the world. The Pyramid rises almost vertically to 554m above the surrounding ocean. The Island and its nearby islets are all that remains of a volcano that last erupted about 6 million years ago.
The sub-tropical island is characterised by luxuriant rain forests, sandy beaches and plunging cliffs. There are over 490 species of fish, 90 species of coral and 130 species of birds. Giant Banyan trees grow in many areas as do groves of the island's most famous export - the Kentia palm. In 1982, Lord Howe Island was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of superlative natural phenomena and contains important and significant habitats of biological diversity. Most of the Island is preserved as a park and its surrounding waters are characterised by lagoons, rolling surf and the world's southern most coral reef.
A permanent population of about 290 people lives on the island. Tourist numbers are strictly limited and the island is never crowded. Transport is by foot or bicycle and there is a speed limit of 25 kph for the few cars on the Island.
In 1788 Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, commander of the HMS Supply, discovered Lord Howe Island on his voyage to Norfolk Island from Port Jackson. Ball named the Island after Lord Howe, the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time. Despite its lack of good anchorage, the island was used as a port of call for whaling and trading ships. The first settlers landed in 1834 and by 1851 there were 16 living on the island.
Lord Howe Island was included in the territorial boundaries of New South Wales as defined under the Constitution Act of 1855. The population of the Island lived almost entirely from the gathering of Kentia palm seeds and other limited agricultural pursuits. In 1913, the Lord Howe Island Board of Control came into existence to take charge of the Island. All existing permissive occupancies were cancelled and the Board was granted ownership of the whole island. It was not until 1953 that the Lord Howe Island Act enabled islanders to receive legal title to their land. Responsibility for the island has since moved to the Premier's Dept (1983), the Dept of Local Government (1986) and finally to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (1988).
Figure 71 - Lord Howe Island Map
Figure 72 - Lord Howe Island with imposing Ball Pyramid in the background
Figure 73 - Lord Howe Island from the air