A brief history of the ownership of Dunk Island.
Situated four kilometres off the coast of Tropical North Queensland near Mission Beach, Dunk Island is approximately 140km from Cairns and 235km from Townsville.
Dunk Island has attracted world-wide attention since the end of the 19th century thanks to E.J. Banfield and his novel, “Confessions of a Beachcomber”. Given only six months to live, the editor of the Townsville Daily Bulletin longed for a more peaceful life. On his first visit to Dunk Island in 1886 Banfield was immediately taken by its pristine beauty, and chose to live out his remaining days on Dunk Island. Banfield and his wife Bertha established a small farm that quickly became self-sufficient, assisted by the island’s Aboriginal inhabitants. Banfield defied his prognosis and lived for another 26 years. In 1908 he published his novel which quickly became world renowned, establishing Dunk Island as an exotic island paradise. Banfield passed away in 1923, his wife ten years later, and their remains were buried together on the island they loved.
Captain Robert Brassey acquired Dunk Island for £10,000 in 1934 using the Banfield’s bungalow as the beginnings of a tourist resort for wealthy Victorians. However, the first true resort on Dunk was opened in 1936 and owned by Robert’s son, Hugo Brassey, before it was annexed during World War II. In the 1960s Dunk became a playground for the rich and famous such as Sean Connery, Henry Ford II and former Australian Prime Ministers Harold Holt and Gough Whitlam. Trans Australian Airlines acquired Dunk Island in 1976 and undertook a major refurbishment of the resort. Qantas Airways became owners in 1992 in the takeover of Australian Airlines (TAA), with P&O Australian Resorts adding the property to their portfolio in December 1997. An $8 million upgrade began in March 1998 with the property transformed as the ‘Island of Peace and Plenty’. Voyages Hotels & Resorts took over in July 2004 as part of their acquisition of P&O Australian Resorts.
In March 2006, Tropical Cyclone Larry devastated the property and spawned a multi-million dollar reconstruction. The rainforest canopy that once cocooned Dunk Island was trimmed by the force of Cyclone Larry and the resort now boasts spectacular views across the beach to the mainland. In September 2009, the World Heritage-listed island was acquired by Pamoja Capital, operating under their management company Hideaway Resorts. The island was once again victim to mother nature in 2011 and felt the full force of Cyclone Yasi. The resort was devastated with much of the infastructured severely damaged and Pamoja Capital chose to sell rather than rebuild again. In 2012 Family Islands Group purchased the resort and is now slowly being resurrected by the operating company Family Islands Operations Pty Ltd. Company Director Peter Bond's vision for the resort is a work in progress and we can't wait to see the end result.