Exactly how long is Kangaroo Island?

ISLAND LENGTH: Steve Berzel has created a graphic showing what a 155km line running west-east across KI looks like.
ISLAND LENGTH: Steve Berzel has created a graphic showing what a 155km line running west-east across KI looks like.

So exactly how long is Kangaroo Island? 

Kangaroo Island app developer and amateur historian Steve Berzel is adamant that the actual length is 145km not 155km, the figure listed on various tourism materials.

“From plotting on geographic tools, it seems there is a significant discrepancy between what we have been told in regards the actual length, which is reiterated in major publications,” Mr Berzel said.

Taking a leaf from Mythbusters, he has created a graphic showing what a 155km line running west-east across KI looks like.

Mr Berzel also created a Facebook poll that indicated most people believed the 155km figure rather than the more accurate 145km from West Bay to Cape Willoughby.

“I was very surprised with the poll result for the number of people who answered 155 km - almost six to one,” he said. 

 “We're not discussing a matter of yards and inches. Ten kilometres is quite a discrepancy, and nobody seems entirely sure when the error originated.”

He would like to see all tourism material update to reflect what he believes is the true figure, and he has already has update the KI entry on Wikipedia.

Tourism KI chairman Pierre Gregor said his organisation would not pursue any changes unless the appropriate government authority provided advice, which confirmed the length one way or another. 

While Mr Gregor said there were more pressing issues for tourism on Kangaroo Island, he said being accurate was important and perhaps Tourism KI could follow-up with appropriate government seats of expertise. 

"Obviously we generate or influence most of the KI marketing material so would be nice to have the accurate figure," he said.

A spokesperson from the South Australian Tourism Commission said it would be willing to entertain a review of the official figure.

Mr Berzel meanwhile is also working on a theory revising exactly where explorer Matthew Flinders first landed on Kangaroo Island in 1802.

He would also like to see the Island’s fascinating history and historical locations get more publicity and attention in tourism promotion and documents.

MORE ACCURATE: The much more accurate calculation of the 145km line running west-east across Kangaroo Island.

MORE ACCURATE: The much more accurate calculation of the 145km line running west-east across Kangaroo Island.

Mr Berzel meanwhile said to some degree it was understandable that the misnomer had gone by unnoticed because it was only in the modern era that were was access to access accurate satellite imagery and geographic tools.

On the other hand, it's not as though no previous reference sources were readily available

.Neville Cordes in his publication, “Portrait of an Island”, writes the distance being 90 miles.

Mike McKelvey, in his book 'Kangaroo Island', states the length is 145 kilometres, while Gifford D. Chapman in his book “Kangaroo Island Shipwrecks” corroborates Cordes at 90 miles.

“Somewhere along the line the figure of 155km was pulled out of a hat without any attempt to cross reference from any of these historic books,” Mr Berzel said.

“After an online discussion with several co-contributors to the forum who double-checked the figure, the general consensus was that the Wikipedia entry regarding the length of Kangaroo Island should be updated to 145km.

“There's no need to re-survey the boundary pegs after ‘shrinking' KI by 10km, yet it may be of some benefit to update future media sources for the sake of providing accurately cited information.”

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