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Once occupied by Australian Aborigines, the native population disappeared after the land became an island following rising sea levels several thousand years ago. It was subsequently resettled from the early 19th century onwards, at first casually by sealers and whalers, and then as part of the colony of South Australia from 1836.
Since then the island's economy has been principally agricultural, with a southern rock lobster fishery and with tourism growing in importance. The largest town, and the administrative centre, is Kingscote. The island has several nature reserves to protect the remnants of its natural vegetation and native animals, with the largest and best-known being Flinders Chase National Park at the western end.
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