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
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
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