Lady Elliot Island is at the southernmost end of the Great Barrier Reef . It is a Commonwealth Island managed jointly by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service under a collaborative lease arrangement with a tourism operator. Lady Elliot Island is leased from the GBRMPA for the operation of a low-key resort, which accommodates up to 150 overnight guests. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority leases a small section of the island for the operation of the lightstation.
The waters surrounding Lady Elliot Island are a Marine National Park (Green) Zone under both State and Commonwealth Zoning Plans. Lady Elliot Island is a Commonwealth Islands Zone. A No Anchoring Area is designated on the western side of the island. Anchoring is available adjacent to the No Anchoring Area.
The first lighthouse on Lady Elliot was built in 1866, however it was destroyed by a cyclone six years later. The current lighthouse was built in 1873 and is a landmark feature that marks the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The light house, made of cast iron and wood, still stands strong along with the lighthouse cottages and storage buildings built in 1928. These properties are listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List.
Lady Elliot Island Lightstation was listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List in 2004. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires the Commonwealth agency that owns or controls the Commonwealth heritage place to make a written plan to protect and manage the Commonwealth heritage values of the place.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has made a Heritage Management Plan to protect and manage the Lady Elliot Island Lightstation's Commonwealth heritage values. The Lightstation Heritage Management Plan is important in ensuring the heritage values are preserved. The Lady Elliot Island Lightstation Heritage Management Plan describes and assesses the heritage values, as well as detailing those obligations, appropriate policies and management regimes required to ensure that these heritage values are managed and protected.
The GBRMPA and Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, have together developed a series of interpretive signs to enhance the island’s existing walking track. The Lady Elliot Climate Change Trail guides visitors through the island’s varied ecosystems, including coastal, rainforest, coral reef, and wetland.
The series of signs enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of how climate change will affect the island’s various ecosystems though increased sea and air temperatures, increased frequency of intense storms, changed rainfall, rising sea level, ocean acidification and changing ocean currents.
The signage is a powerful call for action, presenting an immediate, real-life case study of climate change impacts. The signage explains the potential impacts of climate change on island ecosystems, illustrates responsible island management through sustainable energy use and suggests how visitors can help mitigate climate change and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
For further information, please visit www.gbrmpa.gov.au