Russell Island

Increasingly popular as the island for Brisbane's weekenders or those who are retired, Russell Island is the largest of the Southern Moreton Bay islands, measuring 8km in length. Approximately 3000 people call it home and it has shops, a supermarket, cafes and services for the residents. The southern tip of Russell Island is 33 kilometres in a straight line from Surfers Paradise. The island is 8 km long (north-to-south) and nearly 3 km wide.

There are holiday homes to rent and a hotel in town. When visiting Russell Island there are several accommodation options to choose from, including several waterfront holiday homes, and the Russell Island Motel.

Russell Island was named after the British Secretary of State for Colonies, Lord John Russell. In 1871-72 farm lots were sold on the island, the quality of the soil being a strong attraction. Sugar cane and pineapples were grown, and cattle and pigs were raised. A sawmill was kept supplied from natural stands of trees on the island. In 1916 a primary school was opened drawing children from the four islands. Fruit and vegetables were grown for the Brisbane market in the 1920s-30s.

The middle of Russell Island contains Turtle Swamp, mainly heath land, and the southern part has sandy soil with a trace of wallum country. Subject to tidal inundation in places, much of it was speculatively subdivided in the 1970s, culminating in a criminal trial for conspiracy in 1981-83.

half-day sightseeing and fishing tours.


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About Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay, to the east of the city of Brisbane and its suburbs, is very much the city's playground, a wide expanse of relatively calm water dotted with many surprisingly unspoilt islands of different sizes and varying character. The bay extends some 160 km from Caloundra in the north almost to Surfers Paradise in the south.

The bay's southern navigation entrance is the Gold Coast Seaway. It is a haven for wildlife - spotting dolphins, whales, turtles and manta rays, and its vast array of birdlife is a popular pass time. The bay's heritage protected wetlands, mudflats, and waterways are some of the healthiest in the region, supporting seasonally up to 25 % of Australia's bird species. Moreton Bay is also a popular destination for recreational anglers and is used by commercial operators who provide seafood to market. A number of ferry and water-taxi services travel over the bay either to and from islands or on day and

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