Raymond Island

Raymond Island is situated on the beautiful Gippsland Lakes, East Gippsland in Victoria.

Raymond Island is a unique part of the world...an island paradise. A sanctuary within a wild non captive environment where Australia’s iconic wildlife live freely.

Raymond Island is visited each year by thousands of tourists who come here from all parts of the world to see our iconic Australian Native animal... The Koala.

The Island also is home to kangaroos, echidnas, possums, wombats, snakes, lizards and birdlife. From small grass dwelling birds to raptors and seabirds. They are all living in one unique location.

Nowhere else in the world can you see such an abundance of Australian species in the wild.

Raymond Island has an area of 770 hectares. The island is 6.4 km long and 1.9km wide and is accessible by car ferry from Paynesville.

A brief history of Koalas

Release on Raymond Island

The Department of Fisheries and Game sent a consignment of 32 koalas from Phillip Island to Raymond Island in the Gippsland Lakes on 25 September 1953. Koalas were translocated to Raymond Island from Phillip Island due to overpopulation and for conservation measures.

  • 1860's - Koalas begin to be hunted for fur between 10,000 and 30,000 skins reached London each year. Experts concerned believed koalas could not survive such onslaught.
  • 1870's - Small numbers of koalas were introduced to Phillip Island, Victoria, by local farmers due to loss of habitat on the mainland as a conservation measure
  • 1898 - Koala protective legislation introduced in Victoria. The release of 2 koalas on French Island, Victoria, given as pets to a resident there.
  • 1903 - Koala protective legislation act introduced in NSW
  • 1906 - Koala protective legislation act introduced in QLD
  • 1912 - Koala protective legislation act introduced in SA
  • 1900's - Despite wide scaled protection, there were a series of “Open Seasons” when koalas were allowed to be killed. Koalas were hunted almost to extinction in the early 20th century for fur.
  • 1919 - 1 million skins were sold in “Open Season” in Qld
  • 1923 - French Islands pets had bred so well that numbers grew to 2300. Farmers, alarmed, requested cull which was denied. Instead translocation programs began. 50 Koalas were translocated to Phillip Island, Victoria and 6 translocated to Kangaroo Island, South Australia
  • 1924 - As many as 2 million furs were exported from NSW. Large scale public outcry slaughter revolted the general public.
  • 1925 - A further 12 Koalas translocated from French Island, VIC to Kangaroo Island, SA
  • 1927 - Last open season, 600,000 koalas were killed in one month despite growing movement to protect the species Late 1920s Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia was formed, determined to stop the koala fur trade. Campaigning included the President of the United States skins imported to North America were being labelled “wombat”
  • 1927, Nov 10 - The commonwealth government ceased altogether issuing permits for the export of koala furs. After the ban of the fur trade koala numbers increased.
  • 1930 - 1933 - A total of 165 koalas were translocated from French Island to Quail Island, Victoria
  • 1934 - Frederick Lewis, the Chief Inspector of Game in Victoria, said that the once abundant animal had been brought to near extinction in that state, suggesting that only 500–1000 remained. However populations confined to Islands already experiencing problems with over population, resulted in starvation, tree dieback and death .
  • 1941 - Koalas on Phillip Island have become so overpopulated, approximately 6000, therefore the translocation program was established to reduce numbers. 350 koalas were sent to The Strathbogie Plateau, Victoria
  • 1941 - 1978 - More than 3000 koalas have been translocated from Phillip Island. Program ceases in 1978
  • 1943 - Quail Island, Victoria, hundreds of starving koalas, trees dead.
  • 1944 - 1308 koalas translocated from Quail Island, Victoria, more than 60 found dead
  • 1945 - 133 koalas translocated from French and Phillip Islands released on Snake Island, Victoria
  • 1953 - 32 koalas translocated from Phillip Island and released on Raymond Island.
  • 1970 - 37 Koalas translocated from French Island to Framlingham in Western Victoria
  • 1980's - Phillip Island’s numbers so low, concern population headed for extinction.
  • 1988 - Semi captive enclosure established to ensure koalas on Phillip Island for tourists
  • 1993 - Framlingham locals alarmed. Severe die back. Koalas located in every second tree. Authorities do nothing.
  • 1995 - Raymond Island’s population approx 400.
  • 1998 - Framlingham population now a staggering 10,000 koalas. Translocation takes place of just over 1,000 koalas. Entire manna gum forest now dead. Many dying starving koalas. Snake Island’s population now at a staggering 5,000
  • 2003 - Raymond Island’s population now approx 630 with major defoliation from overbrowsing. Manna gum woodlands now dead and dying.
  • Nov 2003 - Jan 2004 - Death of approx 150 koalas from starvation. Population crash. Experts put in recommendations for future management of koalas on Raymond Island.
  • Sep 2004 - Department of Sustainability release Victoria’s Koala Management Strategy
  • Oct 2004 - 30 koalas translocated from Raymond Island to mainland undergo 6 week monitoring trial with successful results. A further 390 then translocated from Raymond Island to save remaining population.
  • 2005 - DSE conduct Koala Count on Raymond Island - 175 counted
  • 2006 - 11 Koalas translocated from Raymond Island.
  • 2008 - DSE conduct Koala Count on Raymond Island - 219 counted
  • 2009 - DSE conducts 3 day Koala Management program on Raymond Island. Koalas are captured, health checks conducted. Vasectomies performed on some males, hormone implants on some females to control growing population. Approx 100 koalas (unconfirmed) translocated to the mainland
  • 2010 - DSE conduct Koala Count on Raymond island - 297 counted. DSE conducts 3 day Koala Management program on Raymond Island. 33 koalas translocated to mainland.
  • 2011 - DSE conduct Koala count on Raymond Island - 251 counted. DSE conducts 3 day Koala Management program on Raymond Island. 17 koalas translocated to mainland.
  • 2012 - DSE conducts 3 day Koala Management program on Raymond Island. None translocated.
  • Jan 2013 - Waterholes Wildlife Sanctuary established.
  • May 2013 - DEPI conduct Koala count on Raymond Island - 305 counted.
  • Oct 2013 - DEPI conducts 4 day Koala Management program on Raymond Island. 17 koalas translocated to mainland
  • Oct 2014 - DEPI conduct 3 day Koala Management Program. 4 translocated to Mainland.