Jervis Bay Territory

The Jervis Bay Territory (/ˈdʒɑːrvɪs/ or /ˈdʒɜːrvəs/)[5][6] is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was surrendered by the state of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1915[7][8] so that the Australian Capital Territory would have access to the sea.[9]

It was administered by the Department of the Interior (and later by the Department of the Capital Territory) as if it were part of the Australian Capital Territory, although it has always been a separate Commonwealth territory. The perception that it is part of the ACT stems from the fact that under the terms of the Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act, the laws of the ACT apply to the Jervis Bay Territory.[10] In 1989, when the ACT achieved self-government, the Department of The Arts, Sport, The Environment, Tourism and Territories took over responsibility for the JBT's administration, and it has since been administered by various Commonwealth Departments responsible to the Minister for Territories.

Jervis Bay Territory
a map of Jervis Bay Territory
ACT-Jervis Bay-MJC
Location of the Australian Capital Territory and the Jervis Bay Territory
Jervis Bay Territory is located in Australia
Jervis Bay Territory
Jervis Bay Territory
Coordinates35°8′55″S 150°42′49″E / 35.14861°S 150.71361°ECoordinates: 35°8′55″S 150°42′49″E / 35.14861°S 150.71361°E
Population391 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density5.6/km2 (15/sq mi)
Area67.8 km2 (26.2 sq mi)[2]
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST)AEDT (UTC+11)
Federal Division(s)Fenner[3]
Mean max temp[4] Mean min temp[4] Annual rainfall[4]
20.6 °C
69 °F
14.2 °C
58 °F
1,165.6 mm
45.9 in


Jervis Bay has a long history of Indigenous Australian settlement.[11] Booderee, the name of the national park that covers the majority of the Jervis Bay Territory, means ‘bay of plenty’ or ‘plenty of fish’ in the local Aboriginal language.[12] The Yuin people have a strong and continuing connection to the Jervis Bay area. It was decided in December 2016 to apply for Native Title, to recognise the long and ongoing connection.[13]

The bay was sighted by Lieutenant James Cook aboard HMS Endeavour on 25 April 1770 (two days after Saint George's Day) and he named the southern headland Cape St George.[14][15]

In August 1791 the bay was entered and named by Lieutenant Richard Bowen aboard the convict transport ship Atlantic of the Third Fleet in honour of Admiral John Jervis, under whom he had served.[14][15] In November 1791 Master Matthew Weatherhead aboard the Matilda entered the bay to undertake repairs.[15]

Survivors of the Sydney Cove shipwreck in 1797 reached the area by foot, heading to Port Jackson.[15][16]

Explorer George Bass entered the bay on 10 December 1797. He named Bowen Island.[15]

John Oxley, an English explorer and surveyor, travelled from Sydney by sea to explore the bay in 1819.[15]

At the time of federation, to allay fears that it would have too much influence in the federal government, New South Wales had agreed to surrender territory for the Australian Capital Territory and to allow it access to the sea. Jervis Bay was selected to be that federal port. The crown land in the area was granted by New South Wales to the Commonwealth in 1909 at the same time that the ACT was surrendered to the Commonwealth.[17] In 1915 the jurisdiction over the Jervis Bay Territory was also surrendered to the Commonwealth.[18] NSW also granted to Commonwealth permission to build a rail corridor linking the two territories but this was never implemented.

At the 2016 census, 391 people lived in the territory, the majority working and living at the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base, HMAS Creswell.[1]

The area of land and water owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council in the JBT is approximately 68 km2 (26 sq mi), which is about 90% of the land. The remaining land in the JBT is managed by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.[19] There is an Aboriginal community at Wreck Bay in the Booderee National Park.

Vincentia is the nearest town, roughly 3 km (2 mi) north of the border.


Jervis Bay Territory is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. However, it is counted as part of the ACT for the purpose of the ACT's representation in the Senate; and it forms part of the Division of Fenner for House of Representatives purposes.

For most purposes, the territory is governed under the laws of the Australian Capital Territory, by the Jervis Bay Administration, which handles matters normally concerned with local or state government, and provides primary school teachers and Australian Federal Police staffing. Residents have access to the courts of the ACT, but are not separately represented in the ACT Legislative Assembly. The Jervis Bay Territory is in the Commonwealth Electoral Division of Fenner. Jervis Bay Territory residents are not represented at the local or State government level but have access to the decision-making process through community organisations.

The Defence Force Discipline Act (DFDA) Section 61 makes all Australian Defence Force members and "Defence Civilians" subject to the criminal laws of the Jervis Bay Territory regardless of where the offence occurred. This is a legal device which makes Defence personnel subject to the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth), the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and offences against the criminal law of the ACT, as military law, even if the offence is committed outside Australia.

The Commonwealth contracts the ACT government to provide courts, education and welfare, the Government of New South Wales for rural fire services and community health, Shoalhaven City Council for waste collection and library services, and commercial providers for electricity and water supplies.


JBT border
Sign denoting the NSW/JBT Border
JBT vegetation
Native vegetation
Hyams Beach 006
Hyams Beach, a white sandy beach.

Having 65.7 km2 (25 sq mi) of land and 8.9 km2 (3 sq mi) marine reserve,[20] Jervis Bay Territory is the smallest of all the mainland states and territories of Australia. Jervis Bay is a natural harbour 16 km (10 mi) north-south and 10 km (6 mi) east-west, opening to the east onto the Pacific Ocean. The bay is situated about 198 km (123 mi) south of the city of Sydney, on the southern coast of New South Wales. The nearest city is Nowra, about 40 km (25 mi) on the Shoalhaven River to the north. The majority of Jervis Bay embayment is part of Jervis Bay Marine Park (NSW State) but the waters within JB Territory are part of Booderee National Park (Commonwealth). Booderee National Park was formerly known as Jervis Bay National Park (Commonwealth).

A wide variety of flora and fauna are native to the Booderee (aboriginal: bay of plenty) National Park with approximately 206 species of birds, 27 species of mammals, 15 species of amphibians, 23 species of reptiles and 180 species of fish native to the area.[21] The park itself encompasses approximately 90% of the territory of Jervis Bay and covers the overlap between Australia's northern and southern climatic zones.

Ancient sand dunes overlay the sedimentary bedrock formations formed from upheaval of the surrounding marine environment 280–225 million years ago. The park was designated sacred Aboriginal land in 1995. A significant portion of the bay's northern coast and headland forming Beecroft Peninsula and ending at Point Perpendicular and surrounding area is a gun bombardment range for the Royal Australian Navy.

There are three small lakes within the territory: Lake Windermere, the largest, with an area of 31 ha (77 acres), Lake Mckenzie, 7 ha (17 acres), and Blacks Waterhole 1.4 ha (3.5 acres).

Bowen Island, at the entrance to the bay 230 m (750 ft) north of Governors Head, is 51 ha (130 acres) in area. It has rookeries for the little penguin Eudyptula minor.

RAN Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay looking through the heads, with ten Royal Australian Navy ships at anchor.

Towns and villages

There are two small towns or villages in the Jervis Bay Territory. They are both covered by postcode 2540. Listed from north to south, they are:

There are four private leasehold properties in Jervis Bay Territory, within but not part of Booderee National Park.

Among these leasehold properties is the historic, heritage-listed Christian's Minde settlement, which was founded in 1880 by the Ellmoos family from Denmark.[22] Christian's Minde was the first guesthouse on the NSW south coast between Port Hacking and Twofold Bay. The properties Christian's Minde, Kullindi and Ellmoos have been consistently inhabited and looked after by descendants and relatives of the first settlers.[23] Many members of the family are buried in a cemetery on a hill, surrounded by dense bush near the settlement.[24][25][26][27][28]

HMAS Creswell

Within the Booderee National Park is HMAS Creswell, the Royal Australian Navy College named after Sir William Rooke Creswell, the Director of the Commonwealth Naval Forces which later became the RAN. The Jervis Bay Airfield is adjacent, operated by the RAN to support its BAE Systems Kalkara (Storm Petrel) pilotless target aircraft. Kalkaras are launched from the airfield and later recovered by parachute into the water and thence by boats maintained at HMAS Creswell, after target-towing exercises off the coast with ships or aircraft. Control equipment is sited at Bherwerre Ridge overlooking the sea to the east.

Proposed reactor site

Murrays Beach
Murrays Beach looking east

The territory was once the proposed location for a nuclear power plant. The project, which was to be on the south east corner of the Bay near Murray's Beach, was cancelled in 1971. This was after preparatory excavation and levelling had been done and an access road constructed between the site and the territory border. The levelled area is now the car park for Murray's Beach and its adjacent boat ramp.

See also


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Jervis Bay Territory (OT)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 February 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "2011 Community Profiles: Jervis Bay (OT)". 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Retrieved 8 May 2013. Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ "Profile of the electoral division of Fenner". Australian Electoral Commission. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Jervis Bay (Point Perpendicular AWS)". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  5. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  6. ^ The ABC Standing Committee on Spoken English: A guide to the pronunciation of Australian place names. Angus & Robertson 1957. p. Pg 61.
  7. ^ Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 (Cth)
  8. ^ "Seat of Government Surrender Act (NSW) Act 9 of 1915". This document, assented to by the Governor-General in 1915, provided for the transfer of 28 square miles of land at Jervis Bay to the Commonwealth, in addition to the areas surrendered under the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909 and the Seat of Government Surrender Act 1909. Museum of Australian Democracy. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Jervis Bay area Most Suitable for Commonwealth Purposes". A portion of land at Jervis Bay was included in the Federal Capital Territory to provide a seaport for Australia’s only inland capital. Museum of Australian Democracy. Archived from the original on 28 April 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  10. ^ "Jervis Bay Territory Governance and Administration". Although the Jervis Bay Territory is not part of the Australian Capital Territory, the laws of the ACT apply, in so far as they are applicable and, providing they are not inconsistent with an Ordinance, in the Territory by virtue of the Jervis Bay Acceptance Act 1915. The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Our Culture". Parks Australia. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Our Culture". Parks Australia. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  13. ^ "South Coast Native Title meeting at Narooma a big boost for Yuin people". South Coast Register. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  14. ^ a b Place Names of Australia (Reed, 1973).
  15. ^ a b c d e f Crabb, Peter (2007). Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin 1788–1939 : an emptied landscape. Lady Denman Heritage Complex. ISBN 095864473X.
  16. ^ "The Sydney Cove". Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  19. ^ "WBACC Annual Report 2013-2014" (PDF). Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Territories of Australia". The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Australian Government. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  21. ^ Lindenmayer, David; MacGregor, Christopher; Dexter, Nick; Fortescue, Martin (2014). Booderee National Park. CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 9781486300426.
  22. ^ "Christians Minde Settlement, Ellmoos Rd, Sussex Inlet, ACT, Australia". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Environment and Energy. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  23. ^ "The Ellmoos Story". Sussex Inlet Community. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Walking trails brochure - Booderee National Park" (PDF). Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Christians Minde". Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Kullindi Homestead". Kullindi Homestead. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  27. ^ "Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW Branch: Holiday Bookings". 15 November 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  28. ^ "Jervis Bay, Sussex Inlet, & Hyams Beach holiday accommodation". Bay of Plenty Lodges. 11 November 2010. Archived from the original on 4 May 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2016.

External links

Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens

Booderee National Park and Botanic Gardens are located in the Jervis Bay Territory of Australia. The reserve is composed of two sections:

the Bherwerre Peninsula, on the southern foreshore of Jervis Bay, Bowen Island and the waters of the south of the bay

lands bordered by Wreck Bay to the south, St Georges Basin to the north and Sussex Inlet to the westWhat is now a national park was declared as a nature reserve in 1971. In 1992, Jervis Bay National Park was declared. Although the local Aboriginal community was offered two seats on the park's Board of Management, the offer was declined as part of a protest over land rights issues.

In 1995, the park was transferred to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community, which leases the area back to the Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage. At this time, the name of the park was changed to "Booderee". The name, meaning 'bay of plenty' or 'plenty of fish' in the Dhurga language, was chosen by the local Aboriginal community.

Bowen Island (Jervis Bay)

Bowen Island is a sandstone island lying 250 metres (270 yd) off the tip of the Bherwerre Peninsula at the entrance to Jervis Bay, on the coast of New South Wales, Australia. The island, however, is not part of the state of New South Wales but of the Jervis Bay Territory, administered by Australia's federal government. It lies within the Booderee National Park.

Bream Beach

Bream Beach is suburb in the Shoalhaven local government area, consisting of holiday resort located near the Jervis Bay Territory in Australia.

Cape St George Lighthouse

Cape St George Lighthouse was a lighthouse that stood near Jervis Bay Village, Jervis Bay Territory, Australia. It was located about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of the southern entrance to Jervis Bay. Constructed in 1860 it was active until 1889. The tower was destroyed between 1917-1922 to avoid confusion in daylight. The ruins remain and are listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List.

Division of Fenner

The Division of Fenner is an Australian Electoral Division in the Australian Capital Territory and the Jervis Bay Territory. As of the 2018 redistribution, it includes Gungahlin and the part of Belconnen north of Belconnen Way and west of Eastern Valley Way, Aikman Drive and William Slim Drive (the suburbs of Belconnen, Charnwood, Dunlop, Evatt, Florey, Flynn, Fraser, Higgins, Holt, Latham, Macgregor, Macnamara, McKellar, Melba, Page, Scullin, Spence and Strathnairn). It also includes the Jervis Bay Territory.

Greenpatch Point

Greenpatch is a locality in the Jervis Bay Territory in Australia.

Hyams Beach, New South Wales

Hyams Beach is a seaside village in the City of Shoalhaven, New South Wales, Australia, on the shores of Jervis Bay. At the 2016 census, it had a population of 112. The village, 180 km south of Sydney, is bordered by two beaches, Chinaman's Beach to the north and Seaman's Beach (sometimes referred to as "Sailors Beach") to the south, with Hyams Beach being in the centre. A seaside resort, its beach is known for having turquoise/aqua-coloured waters and fine, squeaky, brilliantly white sand that's composed of pure quartz. The village is a 3-hour drive from Sydney and can be accessed via Princes Motorway from the Sydney CBD or Hume Motorway from Greater Western Sydney.

Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay (, locally ) is a 102-square-kilometre (39 sq mi) oceanic bay and village on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia, said to possess the whitest sand in the world. It is surrounded by Jervis Bay and Wreck Bay.

A 70-square-kilometre (27 sq mi) area of land around the southern headland of the bay is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia known as the Jervis Bay Territory. The Australian Navy base, HMAS Creswell, is in the Jervis Bay Territory between Jervis Bay Village and Greenpatch Point.

Jervis Bay Airfield

Jervis Bay Airfield (ICAO: YJBY) is a military aerodrome in the Jervis Bay Territory in Australia. It is the only aerodrome in the territory and is located about 10 km (6.2 mi) east of Sussex Inlet; and about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Jervis Bay Village and HMAS Creswell.

It was opened in 1941 as a satellite airfield of Royal Australian Air Force Base Nowra (now HMAS Albatross). It was primarily used to support torpedo training by No. 6 Operational Training Unit RAAF and search and rescue operations during World War II. During 1945 it was home to the Royal Navy Mobile Naval Air Base MONAB V (HMS Nabswick) and several Fleet Air Arm squadrons of the British Pacific Fleet.

The airfield was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1948. It continued to be used as a base for the RAN's GAF Jindivik pilotless target aircraft. Today the RAN's British Aerospace MQM-107E Kalkara Flight is based at the airfield, along with the RAN School of Ship Survivability and Safety that has fire and damage control (flooding) training facilities.

Jervis Bay National Park

Jervis Bay National Park, formerly known as Jervis Bay National Park (NSW), consists of several protected areas on the western and northern foreshores of Jervis Bay, on the south coast of New South Wales. The park is close to the town of Huskisson and includes Hyams Beach, renowned for its white sand, whale watching and fishing opportunities.

Visitor facilities are provided in the Greenfield Beach section of the park, including toilets, showers and walking tracks.

The park was gazetted in 1995 as "Jervis Bay National Park (NSW)" to avoid confusion with nearby Booderee National Park in the Jervis Bay Territory, then known by the same name. Part of Jervis Bay itself is reserved as Jervis Bay Marine Park.

Jervis Bay National Park is 48.57 km² in size and is managed by the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change.

Jervis Bay Nuclear Power Plant proposal

Jervis Bay Nuclear Power Plant was a proposed nuclear power reactor in the Jervis Bay Territory on the south coast of New South Wales. It would have been Australia's first nuclear power plant, and was the only proposal to have received serious consideration as of 2019. Some environmental studies and site works were completed, and two rounds of tenders were called and evaluated, but the Australian government decided not to proceed with the project.

Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915

The Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 was an Act of the Parliament of Australia which followed the New South Wales Seat of Government Surrender Act 1915. The Act created the Territory of Jervis Bay, subject to the laws of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). While the Act's use of the language of "annexed" is sometimes interpreted as implying that the Jervis Bay Territory was to form part of the Federal Capital Territory, the accepted legal position is that it has been a legally distinct territory from its creation, despite being subject to FCT/ACT law and (prior to ACT self-government in 1988) being administratively treated as part of the FCT/ACT.

Jervis Bay Village

Jervis Bay Village is a village in the Jervis Bay Territory. HMAS Creswell Royal Australian Navy base is located in the town. Apart from the navy base there is an Aboriginal community in the town. It is the largest town in the Jervis Bay Territory with 250 inhabitants (followed by Wreck Bay Village with 215).

Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell

The Royal Australian Naval College (RANC), HMAS Creswell, commonly known as Creswell, is the naval academy of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) that consists of the RAN School of Survivability and Ship's Safety, Kalkara Flight, the Beecroft Weapons Range and an administrative support department. It is located between Jervis Bay Village and Greenpatch on the shores of Jervis Bay in the Jervis Bay Territory. Since 1915, the RANC has been the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Australian Navy.

The commanding officer of Creswell since January 2019 is Captain Warren Bairstow, RAN, who is also the Superintendent of Naval Waters for Jervis Bay and the lead authority for the conduct and management of Navy's initial entry, leadership and management training around Australia.

St Georges Basin (New South Wales)

St Georges Basin is an open intermediate estuary, or inland sea, located in the South Coast region of New South Wales, adjacent to the Jervis Bay Territory.

States and territories of Australia

Government in the Commonwealth of Australia is exercised on three levels: federal, states and territories, and local government.

There are six states: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. (Historically, each is a successor to one of the previous Australian colonies.) Each state has its own constitution, with its own legislature (parliament), judiciary and executive. The state parliaments have plenary legislative power, except that some areas of legislative power are exclusive to the federal parliament, many others are exercised concurrently with it and, in case of conflict between federal and state legislation, the federal legislation prevails. A decision of a state judiciary is subject to appeal to a federal court.

There are also ten territories, whose existence and governmental structure (if any) depend on federal legislation. The territories are distinguished for federal administrative purposes between internal territories, i.e. those within the Australian mainland, and external territories, although the differences among all the territories relate to population rather than location.

Two of the three internal territories—the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which was established to be a neutral site of the federal capital, and the Northern Territory—function almost as states. Each has self-government, through its legislative assembly, but the assembly's legislation can be federally overridden. Each has its own judiciary, with appeal to a federal court. The third internal territory, the Jervis Bay Territory, is the product of Australia's complex relationship with its capital city; rather than having the same level of autonomy as the other internal territories, it has services provided by the ACT.

There are also seven external territories, not part of the Australian mainland or of any state. Three of them have a small permanent population, two have tiny and transient populations, and two are uninhabited. All are directly administered by the federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (or the Department of the Environment and Energy in the case of the Australian Antarctic Territory). Norfolk Island, which is permanently populated, was partially self-governing until 2015.

The term "interstate" is used within Australia to refer to any cross-border events, transactions, or travel.

Sussex Inlet, New South Wales

Sussex Inlet is a town in the South Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. The town lies on the west bank of the waterway called Sussex Inlet, which divides New South Wales from the Jervis Bay Territory. The town lies within the City of Shoalhaven.

As at the 2016 census, the population of Sussex Inlet was 3,575.

Wreck Bay Village, Jervis Bay Territory

Wreck Bay Village is an Aboriginal locality in the Jervis Bay Territory, Australia. At the 2011 census the population was 198. It is a largely an Australian Aboriginal community due to the area being a former Aboriginal Australian reserve.

Wrights Beach

Wrights Beach is a town in the City of Shoalhaven in New South Wales, Australia. It is on the shores of St Georges Basin, near the Jervis Bay Territory.

Jervis Bay Territory, Australia
Places of interest
Local government areas
National parks
Rivers and other waterbodies
Internal territories
External territories
Former territories
External territories
External territories


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