Horn Island, Torres Strait, is the second largest of the Prince of Wales Group. It is a short way east of Thursday Island and 20 km from the nearest tip of Cape York. It was named Horned Island in 1803 by the explorer, Matthew Flinders, because of a raised part of the island.
The main place of European settlement in Torres Strait was Thursday Island, and before World War II Horn Island's main economic activity had been gold mining in the 1890s. When the Pacific War was declared in 1941 Horn Island was a significant northern outpost with enough level space for an airfield. Over 5000 men and women served on Horn Island, including 830 men from the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion. The airfield was heavily bombed by the Japanese, on eight occasions during 1942-43.
Horn Island continues as the airport for Thursday Island, and the two are connected by a 15 minute ferry service. The Gateway Torres Strait Resort and Museum operates tours from Horn Island. Horn Island has a primary school (1993), and its census populations have been: