Macleay Island, including Perulpa Island is the second largest of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, measuring approximately 6 km by 2.5 km wide and being home to 2,571 permanent residents according to the 2011 Census. A causeway connects Macleay Island to Perulpa Island, located to the east of Macleay Island. Aptly named, the aboriginal meaning of Perulpa is ísland off the island.
For some time the island was called Tim Shea’s Island after a convict who lived on the island for more than a decade. The current name was given by Surveyor Warner who named the island after Alexander Macleay who was the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales from 1825 to 1837.
Macleay Island is popular with cyclists and walkers, the marked Heritage Walk being well-liked with visitors. Macleay has a number of B&B’s and cottage accommodation. On the northern end of the island at Pats Point there is a swimming enclosure, BBQ and toilets.
The bowls club, boat club and golf course provide sporting and dining options for residents and visitors. The island has a primary school, day care centre, a local shopping centre, takeaway food outlets, pharmacy, service station, restaurants, hotels and services include a taxi service, doctor surgery, post office, police and rural fire brigade. The island also has a vibrant arts and cultural community who are catered for with an Arts Complex, consisting of studio, gallery and pottery shed that hosts annual arts events, as well as a permanent display of local art. Macleay Island also has an active Progress Association which runs the island’s well-stocked library.
Whilst Macleay Island is one of the more developed of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands; it retains relatively extensive vegetation cover. Management of the landscape is an important component of the island’s land use strategy. Macleay Island has a mix of sealed and unsealed roads; with a bitumen all-weather road running through the centre of the island from the ferry terminal in the south to Pat’s Point picnic and swimming area to the north.