The earliest charts of the Whitsunday area showed only one
island, named 'Passage Island' where Dent Island and Hamilton Island
currently lie. It was not until 1866, when Commander G. S. Nares, RN, on HMS
Salamander, carried out a detailed survey of the northern waters of
the Whitsunday Passage that the charts were amended to show two
separate islands. Dent Island was named after Lieutenant Albert
Dent, RN, on the HMS Salamander.
In 1879 as part of a Government
programme of improving navigational aids along the Queensland coast
a lighthouse was erected on the island, the first in the area. There
is a second island, known locally as Dent Island being the small
mangrove island in the Proserpine River just downstream of the mouth
of Saltwater Creek. It was the scene of the wreck in 1907 of the Ada
Dent from which the name is derived.