About Lord Howe Island


Lord Howe Island was first discovered by Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, commander of the First Fleet ship, Supply, in 1788, while en route between Sydney Cove and the penal settlement of Norfolk Island. Ball named the uninhabited island after British Admiral Richard Howe, and the sea stack situated to the island’s south Balls Pyramid, after himself.

The island was first settled in 1834, when three couples arrived from New Zealand. In the ensuing years, Lord Howe acted as a provisioning station for ships travelling between Sydney and Norfolk Island, and for whaling ships. The native fauna – which hitherto had no fear of man – was easy to catch and most of the island’s endemic birds were driven to extinction during this period.

By the 1870s, whaling was waning and the islanders turned to the collection and export of Kentia Palm seeds to the European indoor plant market to support the local economy.

Tourists first came to the island around the turn of the 20th century by ship and visitation boomed post World War II with the arrival of the flying boats, which operated out of Rose Bay in Sydney. An airstrip was opened in 1974, enabling twin-engine planes to begin flying to the island.

Lord Howe Island is administered by the Lord Howe Island Board, a NSW Statutory Authority established under the Lord Howe Island Act in 1953, which gives a high level of self-governance to the community. The Board reports directly to the NSW Minister for Environment, and is charged with the care, control and management of the island. The Board comprises of seven members, four of whom are appointed by the island community, with the remaining three members elected by the Minister to represent the interests of business, tourism and conservation.

Located 600km from the nearest large landmass, Lord Howe is one of the “cleanest” places on earth, with no air or sea pollution or litter. The Lord Howe Island Act of 1981 established a Permanent Park Preserve over approximately 70 per cent of the island, recognising the magnificent natural heritage of Lord Howe. The island’s surrounding waters were declared a Marine Park in 1998 to protect its unique marine environment. In 1982, The Lord Howe Island Group was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage property, in recognition of the global significance of the island’s beauty and biodiversity. Today, approximately 75 per cent of the island’s original natural vegetation remains intact and undisturbed. Likewise, its beaches, coral reef and marine environment are pristine.