Vansittart Island

Vansittart Island, also known as Gun Carriage Island, is a granite island, with an area of 800 ha. It is part of Tasmania���s Vansittart Island Group, lying in eastern Bass Strait between Flinders and Cape Barren Islands in the Furneaux Group. It is partly private property and partly leasehold land and is currently used for grazing wiltshire horn sheep. The island is part of the Franklin Sound Islands Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because it holds over 1% of the world populations of six bird species.

Most of the original vegetation of the island has been cleared, destroying many stands of Oyster Bay Pine.
Recorded breeding seabird and wader species are Little Penguin, Pacific Gull, Sooty Oystercatcher and Pied Oystercatcher. Black Swans have nested on the island, which is also a refuge for Cape Barren Geese. Reptiles present include Tiger Snake, Southern Grass Skink, Metallic Skink and Bougainville���s Skink. Red-necked Wallabies are present, and possibly Echidnas, though the Tasmanian Pademelon is extinct there.

Vansittart Island was named in January 1799 by British navigator Matthew Flinders during his circumnavigation of Tasmania with George Bass. It is named after Nicholas Vansittart, 1st Baron Bexley��(1766-1851), a British politician. He entered Parliament in 1796, was joint secretary of the treasury (1801-4, 1806-7) and briefly secretary for Ireland (1805), and in 1812 he became chancellor of the exchequer under the 2d earl of Liverpool.

He held office for 11 years, dealing with the problems of economic adjustment that followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars. A loyal follower of Viscount Sidmouth, he resigned (1823) not long after Sidmouth. He was raised to the peerage in 1823 and remained in the cabinet as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster until 1828.

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