Monte Bello Islands Conservation Park
The Monte Bello Islands
are an archipelago of around 140 small islands 80 miles from the Pilbara coast of North West Australia
. The name is Italian for Beautiful Mountain
There are two main islands, named by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin in 1801.
- Hermite Island, named after the French Admiral, Jean l'Hertmite
- Trimoulle Island, named after a French noble family.
And a number of smaller ones, the largest of which are:
- North-West Island
- Primrose Island
- Bluebell Island
- Alpha Island
- Crocus Island
An early reference to the islands is in 1622
, when the Tryal
was wrecked just west of them. For years afterwards their position was approximately recorded on charts as the Tryal Rocks.
They were economically significant for pearl fishing from the end of the nineteenth century until the outbreak of the Second World War.
A bay of Trimoulle Island was site of Operation Hurricane, the first British nuclear weapons test in 1952. There were two further tests on Alpha and Trimouille Islands in 1956.
The islands now form a conservation park administered by the Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management, and it is likely that the shallow waters around them will be made into a marine conservation reserve.