Mount William National Park
Accessed from Ansons Bay or Gladstone, Mt. William National Park was
established in the 1970s, in part to provide a refuge for the Forester
kangaroo, a Tasmanian subspecies of eastern grey kangaroo which was in
grave danger of extinction at the time.
Like so much of Tasmania’s east coast, the geology of Mt. William
is dominated by granite. Due to its high quartz content, granite breaks
down into a very pure sand which has formed beautiful white beaches
that are one of the features of the park.
There is a large population of marsupials – wombats, Forester
kangaroos, Tasmanian pademelons and wallabies, particularly along
Forester Drive. With a rich diversity of coastal vegetation boasting
spring flowering, the park is an important area for the conservation of
Tasmania’s coastal heathlands and dry sclerophyll communities or
plants. Heath is found on poorer soils, such as those here, which
result from weathered granite and wind blown sand.
Called Larapuna in the local Aboriginal language, Eddystone is part
of the traditional territory of Tasmanian Aborigines. Aborigines have
re-occupied Eddystone Point since 1999 when the Tasmanian Government
agreed in principle to the return of Eddystone Point and Mt. William
National Park. The point is essentially one huge midden – and
there are over ninety middens, – nearly sixty artefact sites and
some burial in Mt. William National Park, which surrounds the point.
The striking pink granite tower of the Eddystone Point lighthouse was
built on a point that juts out into the sea in 1889 in response to many
north bound ships being wrecked by coming in too close to the northeast
coast of Tasmania. The light was serviced by sea and over the years the
landing areas took a battering with jetties having to be rebuilt
several times. The lighthouse is in the Mount William National Park. It
can be reached by unsealed roads of a fair condition from St Helens or
Gladstone (32 km).