Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island is situated in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands with its own airport catering for direct commercial and charter flights. It is serviced by at least 48 flights a week, including direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. Over 80 per cent of Hamilton Island has been preserved in its natural state so that visitors can continue to enjoy the pristine beauty of the island's fabulous beaches, unspoilt nature trails and secluded hideaways.

After being used for grazing sheep since the 1890s, the island was bought by Keith Williams and Bryan Byrt for development as a resort. The first phase of the resort was opened in December 1982 and the first guests arrived in January 1983. A range of accommodation is available from simple Bure style to high rise apartments overlooking the island.

The Whitsunday Islands are the most well known and well visited island group in Australia. They have become the epitome of the perfect tropical island holiday destination and are synonymous with the image of paradise. As one of the country's major tourist attractions and holiday destinations, these islands and the neighbouring coast are considered a very special part of Australia. Located just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, the Whitsundays are right in the heart of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. The main islands lay directly between the Queensland Coast and The Great Barrier Reef to the east.

Geologically the Whitsunday Islands are all drowned mountains. It is believed that, prior to the last Ice Age they were connected to the mainland and would have all been prominent mountains in the area. The melting of the polar caps drowned the valleys between the mountains creating a network of 74 islands. Eight of these islands now have resort facilities. Beyond the resorts the whole area is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the uninhabited islands are all controlled by the National Parks and Wildlife.

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Commander G. S. Nares, RN, in HMS Salamander carried out extensive surveys of the Whitsunday Passage in 1866 prior to which Admiralty charts showed Dent Island and Hamilton Island as one island, crudely outlined, under the name 'Passage Island'. Nares charted the channel between the two islands, defined the outline of Dent Island and gave it its name. He also defined the western coast of the today's Hamilton Island and named Passage Peak thereon, following on from Passage Island. Nares survey chart gave no name to today's Hamilton Island though sailing directions handed to the Port Denison Times by Salamander's sailing master, Thomas Hayman, referred to it as 'Passage Island'. In 1868 Commander H. M. Bingham, RN, in HMS Virago carried out a more detailed survey of the eastern side of the island, giving it its modern shape and putting adjacent Perseverance and Young Islands on the map. His survey chart shows the name 'Hamilton Island' for the first time.

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