Hayman Island’s Story Unveiled

Hayman Island has touched the hearts of travellers for generations. Step back in time as we explore memorable moments in Hayman’s rich history on a journey towards becoming Australia’s most iconic private island.

7,000BC

The Whitsundays and the neighbouring coastal fringe are the traditional home of the Ngaro Aboriginal people, who are also known as the ‘Canoe People’. Archaelogical research shows that the Ngaro inhabited the Whitsundays for at least the past 9,000 years.

1866

Hayman Island is named by Commander Nares of the “Salamander” in honour of his navigator, Thomas Hayman, Master R.N..

1904

Thomas Abell obtains the lease of Hayman Island and intends to graze cattle.

1907

Abell sells the lease on Hayman and all the saanen goats he had introduced to Boyd Lee for 30 pounds. Boyd Lee was a local legendary character who inspired the author Norman Caldwell to write two books “Titans of the Barrier Reef’ and ‘Fangs of the Sea’.

1931

The lease passes hands again, this time to NSW teacher Monty Embury. Embury starts to offer boat tours to the outer reef to zoologists, scientists and bird watchers.

1933

The first structure is built on Hayman: a biological research laboratory. Accommodation was in tents at camping grounds.

1935

The lot is sold to the Hallam Brothers, Bob and Bert. The brothers establish a fishing resort and the biological research laboratory is converted into dining and recreation rooms.

1936

Impressed by the island’s tropical beauty, American film-maker Zane Grey chooses Hayman as the shoot location for his film, White Death.

1938

A Beach Chalet built on Hayman Island : A single-room, timber-framed, fibro-clad beach holiday house with a corrugated iron roof.

1945

Hayman Hotel – Lounge area of a Hayman Island hotel furnished with split cane chairs and sofas.

1947

Reginald Ansett, one of the pioneers of the aviation industry, steps ashore on Hayman Island. He knows straight away that the tropical island paradise will become a magnificent tourist resort. Ansett purchases the island to build a winter Resort in order to increase the profits of his airline.

1948

Hayman Island, as a tourist resort, closes. The massive project of building a new hotel begins. Ansett applies for a Royal Charter and permission was given to name the new hotel the “Royal Hayman”.

1950

The Royal Hayman is completed and opens on the 4th of July.

1959

The iconic candy-striped train which takes guests from the 1/4 mile long jetty to the Hayman Hotel.

1970

January 17th Cyclone Ada devastates most of the island and its fine facilities. It decimates the boat fleet and costs the lives of three employees. Six months later Hayman Island is back in business.

1973

The Resort is rebuilt after Cyclone Ada.

1981

A $10 million programme is announced to improve and up-grade the resort.

1987

Major refurbishment takes place ($300 million). Hayman was invited to join Leading Hotels of the World.

1998

Hayman is sold to BT hotel Group and the new owners commence a multi-million dollar enhancement and development program.

2004

Mulpha Australia acquires the Resort and builds the first Residences on the Hayman Hill and upgrade the Hayman Pool and the Infinity Pool.

2014

Hayman reopens under the One & Only brand in 2014, after extensive restoration ($80 million) on the island due to severe impact of Tropical Cyclone Anthony and Cyclone Yasi.

2017

Category four tropical cyclone Debbie hits Hayman Island, the Resort has to close again for extensive restoration.

2019

The Resort reopens under the InterContinental brand after 2.5 years and a $135 million redesign.

  • 7,000BC

    7,000BC

    The Whitsundays and the neighbouring coastal fringe are the traditional home of the Ngaro Aboriginal people, who are also known as the ‘Canoe People’. Archaelogical research shows that the Ngaro inhabited the Whitsundays for at least the past 9,000 years.

  • 1866

    1866

    Hayman Island is named by Commander Nares of the “Salamander” in honour of his navigator, Thomas Hayman, Master R.N..

  • 1904

    1904

    Thomas Abell obtains the lease of Hayman Island and intends to graze cattle.

  • 1907

    1907

    Abell sells the lease on Hayman and all the saanen goats he had introduced to Boyd Lee for 30 pounds. Boyd Lee was a local legendary character who inspired the author Norman Caldwell to write two books “Titans of the Barrier Reef’ and ‘Fangs of the Sea’.

  • 1931

    1931

    The lease passes hands again, this time to NSW teacher Monty Embury. Embury starts to offer boat tours to the outer reef to zoologists, scientists and bird watchers.

  • 1933

    1933

    The first structure is built on Hayman: a biological research laboratory. Accommodation was in tents at camping grounds.

  • 1935

    1935

    The lot is sold to the Hallam Brothers, Bob and Bert. The brothers establish a fishing resort and the biological research laboratory is converted into dining and recreation rooms.

  • 1936

    1936

    Impressed by the island’s tropical beauty, American film-maker Zane Grey chooses Hayman as the shoot location for his film, White Death.

  • 1938

    1938

    A Beach Chalet built on Hayman Island : A single-room, timber-framed, fibro-clad beach holiday house with a corrugated iron roof.

  • 1945

    1945

    Hayman Hotel – Lounge area of a Hayman Island hotel furnished with split cane chairs and sofas.

  • 1947

    1947

    Reginald Ansett, one of the pioneers of the aviation industry, steps ashore on Hayman Island. He knows straight away that the tropical island paradise will become a magnificent tourist resort. Ansett purchases the island to build a winter Resort in order to increase the profits of his airline.

  • 1948

    1948

    Hayman Island, as a tourist resort, closes. The massive project of building a new hotel begins. Ansett applies for a Royal Charter and permission was given to name the new hotel the “Royal Hayman”.

  • 1950

    1950

    The Royal Hayman is completed and opens on the 4th of July.

  • 1959

    1959

    The iconic candy-striped train which takes guests from the 1/4 mile long jetty to the Hayman Hotel.

  • 1970

    1970

    January 17th Cyclone Ada devastates most of the island and its fine facilities. It decimates the boat fleet and costs the lives of three employees. Six months later Hayman Island is back in business.

  • 1973

    1973

    The Resort is rebuilt after Cyclone Ada.

  • 1981

    1981

    A $10 million programme is announced to improve and up-grade the resort.

  • 1987

    1987

    Major refurbishment takes place ($300 million). Hayman was invited to join Leading Hotels of the World.

  • 1998

    1998

    Hayman is sold to BT hotel Group and the new owners commence a multi-million dollar enhancement and development program.

  • 2004

    2004

    Mulpha Australia acquires the Resort and builds the first Residences on the Hayman Hill and upgrade the Hayman Pool and the Infinity Pool.

  • 2014

    2014

    Hayman reopens under the One & Only brand in 2014, after extensive restoration ($80 million) on the island due to severe impact of Tropical Cyclone Anthony and Cyclone Yasi.

  • 2017

    2017

    Category four tropical cyclone Debbie hits Hayman Island, the Resort has to close again for extensive restoration.

  • 2019

    2019

    The Resort reopens under the InterContinental brand after 2.5 years and a $135 million redesign.