Welcome to Mornington Shire Council
Mornington Shire incorporates twenty-one of the twenty-two islands of the Wellesley Group in the Gulf of Carpentaria, in the State of Queensland. Mornington Island is the largest island in the group with the main township of Gununa housing the majority of the population. People regularly return to their traditional homelands in other parts of Mornington and outlying islands, including Bentinck and Forsyth Islands Mornington Island, some 700 square kilometres, is located 16°30’ south and 139°30’ east in the Gulf of Carpentaria, about 125kms north-west of Burketown, 200kms west of Karumba and 444kms from Mt Isa. The Shire has an area of 1,248.4 sq kms.
The climate is dry tropical with a very marked summer rainfall maximum. The median annual rainfall is approximately 800mm. When rain occurs, it is often intense with approximately 20mm per rain day. The highest daily rainfall expected to occur once a year on average is about 100mm while the daily maximum expected to return once in fifty years on average is about 300mm.
Evaporation rates are high, in the order of 2600mm annually, and monthly evaporation rates peak in October/November at around 300mm per month. The southern gulf coastline averages more than 8 hours of bright sunshine per day, which is more than any other coastal region in eastern Australia. During the cooler months of the year, winds are south-easterly to easterly whilst in the hotter months, the winds are usually from the north.
Tropical cyclones affect the area. Past records indicate that cyclones cross the coast close to Mornington Island one year in ten. Cyclones are often associated with storm surges. The maximum storm surge height predicted for Mornington Island is six metres and Gununa is built above that elevation.