Green Island Resort > Discover > History


Green Island has an amazing history including many ‘Firsts’; such as the world’s first underwater observatory and the first island movie theatre!

Pre- European settlement Green Island was used by local aboriginal tribes as fishing grounds, as well as a sacred ceremonial site for manhood initiations.



1770: Lt James Cook sighted Green Island on June 10, 1770. According to tradition, he named the Island after Charles Green the Chief Observer and Astronomer on his ship, the HMS Endeavor.
1857: European colonization commenced when a sea cucumber smoking station on the Island was founded.
1890: Occasional pleasure cruises started traveling to Green Island
1924: The Hayles Family commenced a regular ferry service from Cairns to Green Island operating every 2nd Sunday.
1936: Green Island was declared a national park.


1940’s:  The First guest house was opened.
1948: The introduction of the Glass Bottom Boat replaced the old method of a floating glass box to view coral.
1954: Opening of the world’s first Underwater Observatory.
1960s: Establishment of Marineland. Since 1971, it has operated as Marineland Melanesia, crocodile farm, aquarium and museum.
1961: The Barrier Reef Theater opened on Green Island – the first movie theatre on an island. It featured the wonderful film work of Noel and Kitty Monkman, pioneering underwater photographers from the 1930s. It was operational until the early 1990s


1965: The (second) Coral Cay Hotel on Green Island was opened.
1970: Queen Elizabeth II visited Green Island during her Royal Australian Tour.
1974: The surrounding Great Barrier Reef was declared a National Marine Park.
1983: The Hayles family pioneered the use of the semi-submersible boat for coral viewing.
1992: Daikyo Australia commenced redevelopment of Green Island Resort.


1993: Commissioning of tertiary sewage treatment plant.
1994: Official opening of the $43 million eco-friendly Green Island Resort.
2001: Commissioning of desalination plant (producing over 55,000 liters of freshwater daily.)
2004: Opening of Resort Day Spa facilities.
2005: The Quicksilver Group acquires Green Island Resort and Great Adventures island operations after the successful purchase from Daikyo.