Currently, there are estimated to be around 600 permanent inhabitants of Bruny Island. Most of the population is located around the coast of the island, where they accept large tourist groups and set up some fishing and boat tours.
Bruny Island is a 362 square kilometer island that is located off the south-eastern coast of the territory of Tasmania, which is a region located under the Australian government. The island itself is separated from the rest of the Tasmanian mainland by a large Channel and its east coast lies in the Tasma sea. Both the island and the channel that separates it from the rest of Tasmania are named after the French explorer, Antonine Bruni d'Entrecasteaux. The traditional Aboriginal name is Lunawanna-Allonah which is an amalgamation of the names of the original two island settlements, Lanwanna and Alonnah.
Originally inhabited by the aboriginal Tasmanians until European arrival, a majority of the population of Bruny island still identify with their aboriginal origins. Abel Tasman was the first to try and enter the land via Adventure bay in November of 1642. The sea that the east coast lies within is named after Abel Tasma. In 1773 Tobias Furneaux was the first recorded person to finally land on the island via Adventure Bay, which was named after his ship. The famous explorer James Cook brought his two ships to stay in the bay area for a total of two days. Cook had carved his initials in a tree which was eventually destroyed in a 1905 bushfire and is commemorated by a plague to remember its origins.
Whaling was an important activity conducted in the area off the coast of Bruni island during the first half of the 1800s, which had set up temporary settlements to aid in the endeavor. Colonial entrepreneurs also operated whaling stations at the coast but they were done on the shore, not wanting to risk the highly dangerous waters away from the shore. Even though Cooktown was marked on maps as early as the beginning of the 19th century, the island was not opened up to the rest of the European settlers and frontiersmen until the late 19th century, when the timber industry exploded.
Because of the small population of the island, the tourism industry makes up a large majority of the economy of the island. It has been known as a famous holiday destination since the 1920s when the surfing beaches and national parks attracted adventure seekers. In recent times, South Bruny National Park is the main focus of tourism, as the state has had much of the surrounding area transferred to the local aboriginal people to preserve their culture. The Cape Bruny Lighthouse is an iconic Australian landmark and was the third lighthouse built within the territory of Tasmania. The island is a day-trip destination, with only about 22,000 visitors staying on the island overnight.