An island of some 294 hectares, Hayman rises to 250 metres at its
highest point. The island's resort is located on the southerly shore
fronted by a sweeping sandy beach and surrounded by 14 hectares of lush
tropical gardens. A variety of birds inhabit the island, such as White
cockatoos, painted lorikeets, kookaburras and kingfishers. Hayman hosts
a colony of Proserpine Rock Wallabies. In October 1941 the island was
declared a national park.
Monty Embury purchased the island's lease in late 1935 with a view to
develop the tourism potential of the island. In 1948, Ansett
subsidiary, Barrier Reef Islands Pty. Ltd. bought the lease as part of
a plan to develop numerous resorts in the Whitsundays.
The resort Ansett developed was aimed at wealthy overseas visitors. In
1953, Ansett dismantled its Daydream Island resort and shipped the
buildings to Hayman Island, to attract a lower strata of client and
drop the resort's 'millionaire status'.
In 1987 the resort was demolished and rebuilt to luxury and exclusive
status, re-opening in December 1987. It has been rated as amongst the
world's best five-star resorts; it is decidedly up-market and its
operators actively discourage charterers and the bare-chested,
'bare-boat' set from visiting.
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Hayman Island is the most northerly of James Cook's Cumberland
Isles as evidenced in Cook's, Matthew Flinders' and P. P. King's
narratives and was adopted as such in later official definitions of the
extent of the Cumberland Islands. The island was named in 1866 by
Commander G. S. Nares, RN, in HMS Salamander after Thomas H. Hayman,
sailing master of Salamander.
During Nares' survey a landing was made on the island in February 1866.
Sailing directions from Salamander published in the Port Denison Times
of 13 October 1866 describe the island as scantily wooded except near
the peaks, with grass so thick it was with great difficulty the party
was able to get through it on their way to the highest peak to make