More than 50 shipwrecks have occurred around Kangaroo Island since first settlement in 1836, leading to the establishment of Lighthouses at nearby Cape Willoughby in 1852, Cape Borda in 1858, Cape St Albans in 1908 and Cape du Couedic in 1909.

Kangaroo Island lies across the bottom of the Gulf of St Vincent and forms the southern edge of the two entrances into the Gulf: The Backstairs Passage on the north-eastern side and the Investigator Strait on the north-western side. Both these Straits are shipping routes into Adelaide and other ports in the Gulf area.


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