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The Jervis Bay Territory is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was bought by the Commonwealth Government in 1915 from the state of New South Walesmarker so that the Federal capital at Canberramarker would have access to the sea. It was administered by the Department of the Interior and later, the Department of the Capital Territory as if it was part of the ACT, although it was always a separate Commonwealth territory. The perception that it is part of the ACT arises 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. In 1989, when the ACT achieved self government, the Department of The Arts, Sport, The Environment, Tourism and Territories took over responsibility for its administration, and it has since been administered by various Commonwealth Departments responsible to the Minister for Territories. It is currently administered by the Attorney General's Department. 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 Fraser for House of Representatives purposes.


The first European to visit the area was John Oxley in 1819.

Jervis Bay is named after the British Admiral John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent. Jervis was believed to have pronounced his name , and the pronunciation used in most parts of Australia is , but most residents of Jervis Bay pronounce it .


Location of the ACT and Jervis Bay

Approximately 611 (2001 census) people live in the territory, the majority working and living at the Royal Australian Navy base, HMAS Creswellmarker. Over 90% of the territory is now legally recognised as Aboriginal land. There is an Aboriginal community at Wreck Baymarker in the Booderee National Parkmarker.

For most purposes, the territory is governed under the laws of the Australian Capital Territorymarker (ACT), 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 Assemblymarker. The Jervis Bay Territory is in the Commonwealth Electoral Division of Fraser (ACT). 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 62 makes all Australian Defence Force members and civilian employees 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.

Vincentiamarker is the nearest town, roughly 3 km north of the border, population 2,750.


Sign denoting the NSW/JBT State/Territory Border
Native vegetation
At 67 kmĀ² Jervis Bay is the smallest territory of Australia. Jervis Bay is a natural harbour 16 km north-south and 10 km east-west, opening to the east onto the Pacific Oceanmarker. The bay is situated about 150 km south of the city of Sydneymarker, on the southern coast of New South Walesmarker. The nearest city is Nowramarker, about 40 km (30 minutes' drive) away, on the Shoalhaven Rivermarker to the north. The majority of Jervis Bay embayment is part of Jervis Baymarker Marine Park (NSW State) but the waters within JB Territory are part of Booderee National Park (Cwlth). [Booderee National Park was formerly known as Jervis Bay National Park (Cwlth)].

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. 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 headland and surrounding area is a gun bombardment range for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The bay's northern coast and headland forming Beecroft Peninsulamarker ends at Point Perpendicularmarker

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

Bowen Island, at the entrance to the bay 230 meters north of Governors Head, is 51 ha in area. It has rookeries for the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) at the northern extent of its range.

Towns and villages in the Territory

There are three small towns or villages in the Jervis Bay Territory. They are all covered by postcode 2541. Listed from north to south, they are: Other villages and towns on the bay are: Hyams Beachmarker, Vincentiamarker, Huskissonmarker, Culburra, Callala Baymarker, Callala Beach and Myola.

HMAS Creswell

Within the Booderee National Park is HMAS Creswellmarker, 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 Kalkara (Storm Petrel) pilotless target aircraft (Beech / BAe MQM-107 E). Kalkara 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.

Nuclear reactor site

Of historical interest is the site of the proposed Jervis Bay Nuclear Power Plantmarker. The site is near Murray's Beach, at the southeast corner of the Bay. The project was cancelled in 1971 after site works (excavation and levelling) were done and a road was constructed to the territory border. The levelled site is now the car park for Murrays Beach and its adjacent boat ramp.

See also


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