is an island in an external territory of Australia, located beyond the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea some 450 kilometers (280 mi) east of Cairns, Queensland. It is the southernmost of the Willis Islets, a group of three islands which with their associated sandy cays stretch in an NNE to SSW line for about 12 kilometers (7.5 mi). Willis Island itself is aligned NW to SE and is about 500 meters (1,600 ft) long by 150 meters (490 ft) wide, 7.7 hectares (19 acres) in area, rising to about 9 meters (30 ft) above sea level. It is the only permanently inhabited island in Australia's Coral Sea Islands Territory.
Weather monitoring station
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a weather monitoring station on the island. There are usually four weather observers, one of whom is Officer-in-Charge, and one Technical Officer (electronic engineering) living on the island.
The Willis Island weather monitoring station was established in 1921 and equipped with a radio transmitter in order to provide a cyclone early warning service for Queensland. The first officer in charge was John King Davis.
Up to 2004 most of the infrastructure constructed in either 1950 or 1968 still existed. Maintenance and refurbishment had been an ongoing costly process. The small parcel of land (total island is 7.7 hectares) accommodated 8 buildings of a varying structure as follows:
- Main Building housing recreation, kitchen/dining, sleeping, office and equipment room constructed in 1950;
- Main Store constructed in 1950;
- Laundry Building constructed in 1950;
- Bunker/Cyclone Shelter constructed in 1950;
- Generator Building constructed in 1968;
- Fire Pump Building constructed in 1968;
- Flammable Liquids Bunker constructed in 1968;
- Balloon filling and Hydrogen Storage Building constructed in 1950 (condemned).
The personal living accommodation was provided in a barracks-like wing between the meteorological office and the kitchen-living room area. Meteorological equipment included a defined equipment enclosure and a seven-meter high radar tower plus dome. Other equipment included a desalination plant and envirocycle sewage treatment plant.
From 2005, the following new facilities and services:
- Meteorological office, mess area, accommodation, recreational area, powerhouse;
- Hydrogen generator building and gas storage, including associated site works;
- Relocated fuel storage tanks to a new concrete bunded diesel fuel area;
- Underground services related to communications, power distribution, water, sewage and fire hose reel services;
- Relocated satellite dishes and radar tower;
- Refurbished salt water pump building.
Accommodation facilities cater for four permanent staff and up to 10 visiting personnel temporarily.
Meteorological equipment includes a defined equipment enclosure and a seven-meter high radar tower plus dome. Other equipment includes a desalination plant and enviro-cycle sewage treatment plant. Power generation comprises a hybrid system of a diesel generator combined with a wind generator and solar power. Rainwater harvesting has not been implemented due to the high level of marine bird life and guano deposits
The most common inhabitants are wedge-tailed shearwaters, sooty terns and common and black noddies. Their numbers are usually quite high and bird cries continue day and night on the island. Several species of booby migrate through the Island including masked, brown and red-footed boobies, and also the lesser frigatebird. crested terns are also seen to migrate, although not as often. Other birds mentioned by John King Davis are the buff-banded rail as a resident, wood sandpiper, and sacred kingfisher and red-tailed tropic bird as occasional visitors.