Hayman Island, a tourist resort in the Whitsunday group, is 70 km east of Bowen. It was named by Commander George Nares while carrying out a marine survey in 1864-67 after Thomas Hayman, Sailing Master.

Between 1906 and 1931 the island was used for grazing and the lease was transferred to a school teacher who used the island as a base for scientific expeditions. In 1936 the lease was transferred to the Hallam brothers who established a rudimentary holiday resort, mainly for fishing. Accommodation was basic: fibro huts, beach sand floors, central dining room and lounge, cold showers in hessian shelters. Twelve years later the Ansett Airlines subsidiary, Barrier Reef Resorts, acquired the lease and, in anticipation of a Royal Visit, built the Royal Hayman Hotel resort (1950). It catered for 120 guests and included a swimming pool, elaborate dining room and live evening entertainment. Access was by Catalina flying boat or by bus and launch from Mackay airport. A 480 metre jetty was later built. Ansett's Hayman Hotel set a postwar standard for Whitsunday resorts. Profits from luxury tariffs were weak, but a tariff reduction gradually brought better results. A State primary school was opened in 1956.

By the 1980s new resorts at Airlie Beach and on Hamilton Island overshadowed a dated Hayman Island facility. It was demolished and replaced by a five star international resort in 1987, aimed once again at the luxury market. It had 203 rooms and eleven penthouses, positioned on the south side of the island overlooking an extensive coral reef. The jetty was replaced by a marina. Behind the resort is woodland and forest rising to 246 metres. The resort was refurbished in 2001.

Further Reading: 

Todd Barr, No swank here? The development of the Whitsundays as a tourist destination to the early 1970s, Townsville, Department of History and Politics in conjunction with Department of Tourism, James Cook University, 1990

Ray Blackwood, The Whitsunday Islands: an historical dictionary, Rockhampton, CQU Press, 1997

David Colfelt, The Whitsundays book, Woodhill Mountain, via Berry, NSW, Windward Publications, 1995

David Heenan, Hayman, Port Fairy, Vic, Glenmede Pty Ltd, 1994, 2001