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An Island of History

Green Island's History

Green Island has an amazing history including many 'firsts', such as the world's first underwater observatory and even the first movie theatre located on an island!

Pre-European settlement it is reported that 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 Endeavour.

1857: European colonisation commenced when a sea cucumber smoking station on the Island was founded.

1890: Occasional pleasure cruises 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.

1940s: The first guest house was opened.

1948: The introduction of the Glass Bottom Boat replaced the old method of 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 Theatre opened on Green Island – the first movie theatre on an island. It featured the wonderful film work of Noel and Kitty Monkman, some of the early photographers to venture underwater in 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.

1992: Commissioning of tertiary sewage treatment plant

1993: Completion of new day visitor facilities

1994: Official opening of the $43 million eco-friendly Green Island Resort.

2001: Commissioning of desalination plant [producing over 55,000 litres 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

Boy on the Beach 1902

Boys on the Beach 1902

Boy on the Beach 1902

Pleasure cruise circa 1912

Glasss Bottom Boats

Worlds First Glass Bottom Boat was launched at Green Island

Queens Visit

Queen Elizabeth II visits Green Island 1970