Lizard Island Visitors Information

Also known by it's indigenous name of Jiigurru, Lizard Island has been home to the Dingaal Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years. The Traditional Owners of Lizard Island have always considered the island a sacred place and it was customarily used in male initiation ceremonies and as the harvesting ground for dugongs, fish, turtles and shellfish.

According to the Dingaal people, Lizard Island was pictured as a stingray (thinking of Lizard Island as the ray's body and the remaining islands making up the tail). It is believed that Lizard Island was formed in the Dreamtime. We can also find shell middens on the island, revealing evidence of ancient feats of clam, spider shells, oysters and trochus shells.

In 1770, Captain James Cook named the island upon encountering a large number of the small reptiles. In his journal he observed, "The only land animals we saw here were Lizards, and these seem'd to be pretty plenty, which occasioned my naming the island Lizard Island".

The island is also the setting for one of Australia's most well-known folklore tales. This is the story of female pioneer Mary Watson who migrated to Queensland in 1877. In 1880 Mary married beche de mer fisherman Robert F. Watson and moved with him to establish a fishing station on Lizard Island.

Leaving his wife and son behind on the island (accompanied by two Chinese servants) for a lengthy fishing trip, Mary's party was attacked by a visiting indigenous tribe who used the land as a ceremonial ground (forbidden to women and children). Ah Leung, one of the servants, was killed while the other, Ah Sam, was severely injured. Mary, Ah Sam and her four-month old son escaped in a cut-down water tank with nothing but a small amount of food and water. Unfortunately, after eight days adrift at sea, the party died in the mangroves of Island No. 5. Mary's last diary entry read, 'No water. Near dead with thirst'.

In 1937, Lizard Island was formally declared a National Park.

Lizard Beach