In 1862, what is now Whale Island, was just a narrow strip of land. Whale Island of today is predominantly reclaimed land which used deposits dredged from Portsmouth Harbour during the 19th Century which increased the land area by about 125%.
During 1867 a viaduct was constructed from the north wall of the dockyard to the south-east corner of Big Whale Island which allowed spoil to be moved from dredging at the docks which was used to reclaim the land between Big Whale Island and Little Whale Island forming the land mass that is the island of today. The construction work was mostly undertaken by convicts.
By 1885 Whale Island was home to five rifle ranges, three of which were soon decommissioned to make way for the Gun Drill Battery and Drill Ground (which is the Summer Parade Ground today).
Before the Second World War there was a Zoo on the island which gave a home to animals presented to British representatives. The island is also home to the State Ceremonial Gun Carriage which has conveyed the coffins of Kings and Queens to their final resting place.
Whale Island is today home to HMS Excellent and is not open to the public.
The island has its own museum and church of St Barbara as well as a Victorian Drill Shed.