St Helena Island National Park
Getting there and getting around
St Helena Island is 7km north-east of Manly, a suburb of Brisbane, and 45 minutes by boat. Regular ferry services depart from Manly and New Farm. See the tourism information links below for details. The Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre operates its own service to the island for school groups. Book through the centre – contact details are listed under tourism information links.
Private boats may be moored off the island. Consider the tides when anchoring in shallow water.
The southern corner of the island is open to the public without a tour guide. The rest of the island, including the prison ruins, is a restricted access area and entry is by guided tour only.
St Helena Island National Park contains the ruins of the State’s first penal settlement, which operated here from 1867 until 1932. Remains of the prison stockade include the bakery, workshops and underground tanks. Beyond the stockade are the stone ruins of warder accommodation, a sugar mill, lime kiln, jetty and Queensland’s first tramway. The vegetation today is an interesting mix of the original vine forest, remnants of beautifully landscaped gardens, and former crops such as olive trees.
Middens and shell scatters show that for thousands of years, Aboriginal people visited the island seasonally, harvesting flying-foxes, dugongs and shellfish.
Wetlands around the island are a haven for migratory wading birds. The surrounding waters are protected in Moreton Bay Marine Park.
Things to do
Short walking tracks to several historic sites at the southern end of the island are accessible without a tour guide.
Several commercial operators conduct guided tours of St Helena Island.
>>Picnic and day use areas
A picnic area with toilets, picnic tables and a shelter shed is provided on the southern end of the island. Information on guided tours, walking tracks and access restrictions is available at the shelter shed.
For your safety and to protect the ruins, please stay behind the rope barriers.
Looking after the park
Your help is needed to preserve the park and historic ruins for generations to come. Please follow these guidelines while visiting the park.
>>In order to preserve the historic sites, access is restricted to some areas of the island. Fines apply for entering the restricted access area without a tour guide.
>>Help to protect the fragile ruins. Do not touch any structures, as the rock crumbles easily.
>>Everything in the national park is protected.
>>No rubbish bins are provided. Take your rubbish home with you to help keep the island free from pollution.
St Helena Island National Park, established in October 1979, was Queensland’s first historic national park. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service works toward preserving the ruins and artefacts from further degradation and accurately presenting the park and its history to visitors.
A Management Plan for St Helena Island National Park will be prepared in the future.
EPA Customer Service Centre
160 Ann Street, Brisbane
PO Box 15155 CITY EAST QLD 4002
ph (07) 3227 8185
fax (07) 3227 8749
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service